Why Extinction Rebellion must rethink their tactics – Kezia Dugdale

Extinction Rebellion caused disruption across Edinburgh with protests on North Bridge, Leith Street junction, High Street and Lothian Road (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
Extinction Rebellion caused disruption across Edinburgh with protests on North Bridge, Leith Street junction, High Street and Lothian Road (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
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Well the week of action is over. The guy ropes on the campsite tents have been cut and Extinction Rebellion have left the grounds of the Scottish Parliament.

What have they achieved? Have they encouraged mass cultural change in the general population? Have they shaped public policy to reflect their aims? Have they made a nuisance of themselves, and simply annoyed the very people they need on their side to succeed?

I remain to be convinced that their tactics have achieved anything substantive at all, except tying up police resources that could have been utilised elsewhere and frustrating movement across the city.

On Monday Lothian Road was brought to a standstill by protesters with their makeshift roadblock and Tuesday saw two protesters glueing themselves to the road outside the entrance to the Scottish Parliament carpark, in an attempt to make MSP’s walk in to work, past their placards and chants.

What this also achieved was making members of staff walk the gauntlet, while being filmed by protesters walking into work as though they were crossing a picket line.

It’s important to make clear that I do agree with their demands for a reduction in emissions but they’re methods have simply turned people such as commuters and those just heading into their work, against them. These are the very people that they will need on their side to change habits and keep pressure on governments to do more.

A continuation of such tactics in my mind will simply make real, substantive change much more difficult.