On Thursday 28 May the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion Scotland interrupted First Minister’s Questions demanding action in the face of the climate emergency.
Activists dropped two banners from the gallery which read: ‘Citizens Assembly Now’ and ‘Zero Carbon 2025.’ At the same time, one activist asked ‘Will the First Minister establish a Citizen’s Assembly to address the climate emergency?’
The Presiding Officer then interrupted the proceedings and the BBC live stream was cut off as six activists were escorted from the gallery by staff and police. All were released without arrest.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not respond to the question posed but looked visibly annoyed. Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw later reportedly commented that parliament was not a fortress and should be open to protest and debate.
An Extinction Rebellion Scotland spokesperson said, ‘Extinction Rebellion Scotland did not wish to undermine other concerns raised by MSPs, but to highlight the climate crisis as this is not sufficiently dealt with despite its pressing importance.’
The day before the protest, MSPs voted 111-6 against declaring a climate emergency. Nicola Sturgeon had previously met with school climate strikers and telling them that ‘climate change is the single most important issue of our time.’ The Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said that this meant ‘the rhetoric around climate change is nothing but empty words.’
The group’s protest comes ahead of the first reading of the Climate Bill at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 2 April. It also precedes the ‘International Week of Rebellion’ starting on 15 April, which Extinction Rebellion says will involve hundreds over groups protesting governments’ inaction over climate change.
Image: Emily Dominey