Arrests made as climate change campaigners bring protests to Edinburgh

18 June 2019, 06:54

Extinction Rebellion roadblock Edinburgh

Several people have been arrested after climate change campaigners blocked a main route in the centre of Edinburgh.

The action on Lothian Road began at around 4pm on Monday and lasted for around six hours, the campaign group Extinction Rebellion Scotland said.

Some protesters were seen lying on the road, locked together, while others appeared to have glued themselves to the surface of the street, during protests which are expected to last until Thursday.

Police Scotland, who said they carried out "enforcement action" as a result of the disruption, said that a "small number" of arrests had taken place.

Earlier, protesters also took to the Royal Mile, at its junctions with North Bridge and George IV Bridge, where attempts to stage road blocks were swiftly broken up by police.

The various protests caused travel delays, with a number of bus routes diverted until Monday evening.

At North Bridge, protesters holding banners stood at the four corners of the junction, as they called for Scotland to lead the world in taking the "radical" action required to address what they describe as a climate emergency.

Protesters held banners saying, "Climate Emergency" and "Act Now".

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland is demanding that ministers act to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

Campaigners also want to influence discussions about Scotland's Climate Change Bill, being debated over the coming days at Holyrood.

The action comes during a five-day protest outside the Scottish Parliament, dubbed the Holyrood Rebel Camp, which is scheduled to run until Thursday.

Student Jessica Cowell, 28, an XR Scotland activist, said: "This Bill does not do nearly enough to overhaul our transport system, which could be made cheaper, more efficient and run on renewables.

"This would decrease harmful air pollution and make public transport more accessible.

"Electric vehicles remain woefully underfunded, expensive and off limits to the wider public."

Chief Superintendent Matt Richards, of Police Scotland, said: "We have been facilitating peaceful protest at the Scottish Parliament since Sunday and have been working alongside our partners at the Parliament and the City of Edinburgh Council to mitigate against disruption to the general public."

He said officers took "swift action" as soon as they became aware of the intention to impact upon the city's road network.

"A small number of arrests have taken place," he confirmed.