Scottish Parliament protest: Extinction Rebellion activists disrupt FMQs before Nicola Sturgeon

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Protesters shout from public gallery in Scottish Partiament

Protesters disrupted proceedings at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (February 2) for the third time in a month.

Three people sitting in the public gallery stood, one after the other, and shouted comments and questions to the assembled MSPs about climate and housing issues. The interruption came just before Nicola Sturgeon began answering First Minister’s Questions, as Mid-Scotland and Fife Tory MSP Roz McCall was asking a supplementary question of Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur. Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone immediately suspended business, which resumed a few minutes later after the protesters had left.

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The protest was a collaboration by groups including Just Stop Oil Scotland, This is Rigged, Extinction Rebellion Scotland and Fuel Poverty Action, speaking out against those involved in North Sea oil and plans to demolish high-rise flats in Glasgow.

The protesters interrupted proceedings just before First Minister's Questions.The protesters interrupted proceedings just before First Minister's Questions.
The protesters interrupted proceedings just before First Minister's Questions.

A statement released by Extinction Rebellion afterwards said: “First Minister, will you oppose each and every new oil and gas project? That means no Peterhead, and proper opposition to Jackdaw, Rosebank, and all projects under consideration. Scotland controls onshore planning permission, which means we can do much much more to oppose Westminster’s murderous policies for new oil and gas, so why are we allowing them to continue?

Patrick Harvie, Minister for Tenants' Rights, co-leader of the Green Party, please stand with tenants and help stop the demolition of 600 social homes in the Wyndford in Maryhill and prevent the release of 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Keep the COP26 promise - retrofit, do not demolish our homes!"

The statement also said: “These groups have disrupted First Minister’s Questions for three weeks now, calling out the government’s new draft energy strategy, which does not oppose onshore oil and gas, or projects currently in the pipeline. The groups are also drawing attention to the negative effects of prepayment meters on fuel poverty in Scotland, and the proposed destruction of St Fittick’s Park in Aberdeen, which has been the centre of a community campaign in Torrie. Another question concerns the campaign to save the Wynford tower blocks in Glasgow. Demolishing the buildings would be a catastrophe for social housing and the environment.”

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Emma English, a 23 year old student living in Glasgow, said: “The Scottish government have repeatedly ignored the deep concerns around climate change that so many Scottish citizens have communicated. They must be made to listen and be held to account. Currently they cannot be said to be representing the people."

Laura, a 35 year old resident of the Wyndford estate, said: "Shona Robison must meet with residents of the Wyndford urgently. It is time to get Wheatley [the housing association planning the demolition] round the negotiating table and prevent 600 homes from being destroyed at huge social and environmental cost."