Edinburgh protest: Scottish Parliament sprayed with red paint in protest over food insecurity

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Three arrested after This is Rigged protest

Three people have been arrested after the public entrance to the Scottish Parliament was sprayed with red paint in a protest over rising food insecurity.

Campaign group This is Rigged said it was demanding that the Scottish Government commit to establishing a community food hub for every 500 households in Scotland and act immediately to slash the price of baby formula back to March 2021 prices. 

Three activists from This is Rigged sprayed The Scottish Parliament red in a protest over food insecurity. Three activists from This is Rigged sprayed The Scottish Parliament red in a protest over food insecurity.
Three activists from This is Rigged sprayed The Scottish Parliament red in a protest over food insecurity. | PA

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It said three of its members had spray painted the building with three fire extinguishers full of red paint and also hung banners from the parliament, saying "Hunger is a political choice" and "1 in 4 Scots", referring to a claim that a quarter of Scots have experienced food insecurity since 2023.

Theo Milligan, 21, a hospitality worker from Edinburgh, said: "I can no longer sit by and watch the cost of living crisis unfold in front of me. Food is a basic human right and should not be controlled by money hungry companies.  It’s vitally important we take action now, we will not stand for these rising prices, and we demand the government will commit to helping its citizens in this time of food crisis.”

And Louis Wombacher, 21, a gardener, said: “Children in Scotland and the whole of the UK are starving. There has been an increase in Victorian-era diseases such as malnutrition, scurvy and rickets, diseases which can easily be eradicated and prevented with easy access to food. Babies will not be fed properly when baby formula prices go up and the products are security tagged because supermarkets care more about their profits than poor mothers stealing formula for their starving babies.” People visiting the parliament faced delays in entering the building as workers began removing the paint. This is Rigged staged a similar red-paint protest in August 2023, on that occasion over over hundreds of new oil and gas licences being signed off. The Scottish Parliament said costs associated with the clean-up operation and the damage caused amounted to around £6,000. On today's incident, a Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “Criminal damage to the parliament is a matter for Police Scotland.”

Just last week, in another This Is Rigged protest, a married couple climbed the steps of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh with fire extinguishers filled with soup and emptied them over the marble figure of Walter Scott.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Three people have been arrested in connection with damage to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh following a protest around 10.45am on Monday, 11 March, 2024. Enquiries are ongoing.” 

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