Edinburgh crime: Climate protestors found guilty after throwing paint at Scottish Parliament building

The pair were spotted vandalising the parliament building by police officers in April this year.
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Two climate change protestors were caught throwing buckets of bright red paint over the Scottish Parliament building moments before an Extinction Rebellion protest.

Ruth Lanser and Lindsay Maycock - members of the This Is Rigged eco protest group - were spotted vandalising the parliament building by police officers in April this year. The pair were also captured on CCTV launching the paint over the exterior of the building in a protest against the UK Government’s decision to back hundreds of new oil and gas licences.

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Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told when Lanser was approached by police and told she was to be arrested she failed to comply forcing officers to carry her to a waiting van. The court was told the pair’s paint protest cost an estimated £300 to £500 in damage and took over an hour for workmen to clean up.

Ruth Lanser outside Edinburgh Sheriff CourtRuth Lanser outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Ruth Lanser outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Lanser and Maycock, 24, stood trial at the capital court on Monday after claiming their actions were “rational and reasonable” due to the ongoing climate crisis debate. Lanser, 27, also denied a charge of resisting arrest claiming she had not been told she was being arrested and police officers had “violently dragged her along the ground” as they took her to their vehicle.

PC Holly Mathieson told the court she was on duty at the parliament to deal with a planned Extinction Rebellion protest outside the Capital building on April 27 this year. The constable said as she waited with colleagues in a police van she witnessed Lanser and Maycock, both from Glasgow, approach the parliament building and launch buckets of red paint over the walls.

PC Mathieson said the pair’s actions were “intentional” and said that, after she approached the two protestors, Lanser had “refused to walk” with her to the nearby police van. She said four officers were then forced to take a limb each and carry the Glasgow School of Art student to the waiting vehicle. The constable told the court Lanser took the position of “a dead weight” and while being carried she began “wriggling and kicking”.

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Sergeant Emma McNaughton told the court the “significant” clean up cost was estimated at between £300 and £500 and took more than one hour to complete using power washers. The sergeant added the Extinction Rebellion protestors had to be moved from the parliament’s entrance to a nearby grassy area to allow workers access to the vandalised area of the building.

Maycock, who defended herself, told the trial she was studying for a Masters degree in Sustainability and Environmental Studies and was protesting against “the Scottish government’s silence” on the oil and gas licences. She said the pair had deliberately watered-down the paint to not cause any lasting damage and their “peaceful protest” was an attempt to “defend the right to life”.

Lanser, also defending herself, said she carried out the paint protest as she believes the earth is on the brink of “global catastrophe” and had already tried other methods to get her message across. She added she was not part of the Extinction Rebellion group but those protestors had been “supportive” of her and Maycock’s paint stunt.

Sheriff Chris Dickson found the pair guilty of wilfully or recklessly destroying property belonging to another by throwing paint at the Scottish Parliament building, in Edinburgh, on April 27 this year. But the sheriff said he was clearing Lanser of resisting police arrest during the same incident stating he found the CCTV evidence was “not particularly clear”. Sentence was deferred on both climate change activists for them to be of good behaviour to April next year.