Edinburgh crime: Climate change protester Justin Kenrick who climbed on roof of Scottish Parliament admonished

Extinction Rebellion climate change activist in court over Scottish Parliament protest

A former university lecturer who climbed onto the roof of the Scottish Parliament in a bid to highlight global climate change has been admonished. Justin Kenrick – member of eco-group Extinction Rebellion – triggered a security scare when he scaled the building and unfurled a large banner over the front entrance stating ‘Climate Assembly, Be Bold’.

The 64-year-old then refused to halt his one-man protest for around two hours before eventually agreeing to give himself up to waiting police officers during the incident in March 2021. Kenrick was found guilty of culpable and reckless conduct following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in October and he returned to the dock for sentencing on Wednesday, January 11.

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‘A right to protest’

Extinction Rebellion protester Justin Kenrick, 63, pictured outside Edinburgh sheriff Court

Sheriff Daniel Kelly was told Kenrick had been of good behaviour for the past three months and agreed to warn him of his future conduct and admonished him. Parliament security officer Kevin Anderson told the trial he spotted the intruder on the roof of the building at Holyrood, Edinburgh, at around 7.30am on March 4, 2021.

Police, the fire service and an ambulance crew raced to the scene to find Kenrick sitting cross-legged around 20 feet above the front entrance.The court heard as the weather conditions worsened a large bamboo stick attached to the climate protestor’s sign broke off and crashed to the ground.

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Kenrick, a senior policy advisor with the Forest Peoples Programme, told the court he did not believe he was a danger to anyone during his rooftop stunt and that he had “a right to protest”. He said the solo demonstration was aimed at the Scotland’s Climate Assembly that was sitting at the time and was deliberating how the country should tackle the ongoing climate crisis.

Following the evidence Sheriff Kelly found Kenrick guilty of culpably and recklessly climbing on to the roof of the parliament building to the danger of emergency service workers. Sentence had been deferred for Kenrick to be of good behaviour.

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Kenrick is an anthropologist and activist who is currently Senior Policy Advisor at the Forest Peoples Programme which works to support African forest communities to determine their own futures. He is also a University of Edinburgh Research Fellow in social anthropology, has previously lectured in anthropology at Glasgow University and is a member of the Green Party.