Extinction Rebellion activists arrested over Scottish oil protest

Extinction Rebellion activists arrested over Scottish oil protest

Police have arrested 13 climate activists who were protesting at an oil industry dinner at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. About 30 members of Extinction Rebellion staged a sit-in at the museum before hundreds of oil company executives gathered for the annual dinner of the Scottish Oil Club on Friday night. The protesters…


Police have arrested 13 climate activists who were protesting at an oil industry dinner at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

About 30 members of Extinction Rebellion staged a sit-in at the museum before hundreds of oil company executives gathered for the annual dinner of the Scottish Oil Club on Friday night.

The protesters hung two banners from the balcony of the museum’s main hall which read “climate emergency” and “smash the patriarchy – save the planet”.

They were asked to leave by Police Scotland, but 13 protesters remained in the building, six of them locked to each other with bicycle locks. They were arrested and removed from the museum at about 8pm.

It was the latest in a series of direct action protests and occupations by Extinction Rebellion activists in Scotland, including a sit-in at the Scottish parliament and a demonstration in Glasgow.

The campaign group said about 300 people staged a party on Chamber Street outside the museum before executives from oil firms including Shell, BP and Total arrived.

“When guests started arriving, protesters lined the entrance to the museum and sang, chanted and spoke to them about the climate emergency,” the group said, before criticising the museum for renting out its building for the event.

Extinction Rebellion, which has spread to a number of countries after being launched in London last year, argues governments and industries are failing to address the climate crisis with enough urgency.

They believe the UK needs to rapidly cut carbon emissions, with the aim of no net carbon emissions by 2026, about 25 years earlier than its current target. They argue the UK’s oil industry, which is based in Aberdeen, enjoys £10.5bn a year in subsidies and is continuing to develop new oil fields, despite evidence of increased global warming.

Mim Black, an Extinction Rebellion Scotland spokeswoman, said: “Climate chaos is already under way across the planet and we know that the fossil fuel industry is a major driver of this. We must immediately start putting safety before profit.”

Police Scotland said its officers were deployed at 4.30pm on Friday. After the museum closed to the public, the protesters were asked to leave but refused. “Following a period of negotiation police provided a proportionate response to the protest and 13 people, a mix of men and women, have been arrested,” the force said.

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