Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protesters block Edinburgh streets

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Environmental crisis demonstrators in Edinburgh have blocked a major thoroughfare by lying on the road.

Activists from the Holyrood 'Rebel Camp'. a five-day protest outside Parliament, split into three teams in a bid to block traffic.

Images from the scene show protesters with their arms linked inside tubing. An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson confirmed demonstrators had locked themselves together to prevent police 'forcibly' removing them.

A witness at the scene said police used steel cutters to break through the arm locks and remove the activists.

Police have now confirmed that they took 'enforcement action'. Officers were stationed at the Scottish Parliament and responded to attempts to block North Bridge and George IV Bridge.

Chief Superintendent Matt Richards said: "We have been facilitating peaceful protest at the Scottish Parliament since Sunday and have been working alongside our partners at the Parliament and the City of Edinburgh Council to mitigate against disruption to the general public.

"As soon as we became aware of the intention to impact upon the city's road network we took swift action and are continuing to deal with the situation on Lothian Road. A small number of arrests have taken place."

"We would urge motorists to avoid the area where possible for the time being and take alternative routes.

"Thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation. "

Extinction Rebellion protesters block Lothian Road, Edinburgh.

Extinction Rebellion protesters block Lothian Road, Edinburgh.

Lothian Buses warned passengers that their drivers would avoid both Lothian Road and The Mound. North bridge was shut for at least one hour.

The transport firm tweeted: "We are currently having to divert buses away from Lothian Road. We are working on the diversions information now. Please keep an eye on our feed for updates."

The protest, organised by Extinction Rebellion Scotland, will see "non-violent direct action" in Edinburgh with various workshops and events taking place for those on the Holyrood site.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland say they want the government to do more to "combat the climate crisis and ecological breakdown" by bringing in a Bill that includes a net zero emissions target by 2025, instead of the current 2045 recommendation.

Extinction Rebellion protesters block Lothian Road, Edinburgh.

Extinction Rebellion protesters block Lothian Road, Edinburgh.

They also want a Climate Citizens' Assembly to be created to oversee the changes necessary to mitigate against climate change and enable to transition to a "just, carbon-free society."

One of the events taking place this week was a march this morning between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, labelled by organisers as a 'parade of life' for people to dress as animals and in bright colours.

Doctor Malcolm White, an Extinction Rebellion, activist, said: ‘We’re blocking traffic and disrupting people’s daily lives because we are so afraid of the consequences of the climate emergency and the fact that the government is not taking nearly enough action.

"Their commitment to 2045 is unfortunately ecocide, it is going to be completely inadequate and it relies on technologies which are not prepared, they’re not up to scale, and some of them don’t even exist yet. It’s just counting on technology coming along to save the day.

"Whereas actually, we really need to change the system that we live in and work in, in order to make it a more ecologically friendly and more just society.’

Tomorrow activists are planning a sit-in at the entrance to Parliament.