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Extinction Rebellion activists interrupt First Minister’s Questions to call for climate fight ‘leadership’

© Extinction Rebellion ScotlandActivists interrupt FMQs
Activists interrupt FMQs

Activists have staged an interruption of First Minister’s Questions at the Scottish Parliament to call for ‘leadership’ in the fight against climate change.

Two interventions were made during the session with demonstrators urging the Scottish Government to ‘step up and be real leaders on tackling the climate crisis.’

In the first interruption, there were shouts from the public gallery ahead of Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw responding to Nicola Sturgeon.

Later in the session, Parliament was briefly suspended as Patrick Harvie was set to ask a question.

Both activists were later identified as being from Extinction Rebellion Scotland.

Neil Rothnie, a retired former North Sea oil worker, who made the first intervention asked: “If the Scottish Government’s plans for the North Sea are replicated throughout the world’s oil fields, will the planet crash and burn in the lifetime of my granddaughters?”

Having been interrupted by Mr Rothnie, Mr Carlaw said: “As always, while it’s not something I encourage, I always defend the right of people to express a view if they have the opportunity to do so.”

In the second intervention, an individual identified by Extinction Rebellion as Eben, said: “My apologies for the second interruption. Glasgow is hosting the COP26 this year – where is the leadership from the Scottish Government and when will the Scottish Government end its love affair with the fossil fuel industry?”

The activists were removed from the Parliament by police following their interventions.

Following the action, Extinction Rebellion released a statement that read: “Today, Extinction Rebellion Scotland staged an interruption at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

“As Australia burns, Jakarta floods and millions are displaced by climate change worldwide, we are asking the Scottish Government to step up and be real leaders on tackling the climate crisis.”

It’s the latest in a series of demonstrations planned as part of the group’s Rig Rebellion 2.0 campaign focused on the fossil fuel industry.

Earlier this week, three activists boarded a rig leased to Shell in Dundee Harbour.

Seven people appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday in connection with the incident.

Earlier campaigns have also seen demonstrators take to the Scottish Parliament to make their voices heard.

In January last year, around 40 climate activists staged a peaceful occupation of Holyrood’s debating chamber, urging MSPs to introduce tougher climate targets.

In June, a group of environmental activists chained themselves to the outside of the building with bike locks, demanding “radical action” to tackle the climate crisis and sending keys for the locks to senior MSPs from each of Holyrood’s parties.