Extinction Rebellion protests twice bring First Ministers Question to a halt

The Scottish's Parliament's weekly First Ministers Questions session was briefly halted
The Scottish's Parliament's weekly First Ministers Questions session was briefly halted
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The weekly joust between Scotland's leading politicians at Holyrood was twice interrupted by a environmental protestors today.

Extinction Rebellion claimed responsibility and later called on the Scottish Government to be "real leaders" on climate change.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has just answered a question on education from Tory opposite number Jackson Carlaw at the start of First Ministers Questions, when someone int he public gallery shouted a protest , believed to be about climate change.

It briefly brought a halt to the question and answer session while security staff dealt with the issue.

"As always Presiding Officer, while it's not something I encourage, I always defend the right of people to express a view if they have the opportunity," Mr Carlaw said as the session resumed.

And the session was interrupted again about half-way through as a result of further shouts from the public gallery.

"We're going to have a short suspension" Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh told MSPs.

The session was resumed again soon afterwards.

Both activists were later identified as being from Extinction Rebellion Scotland.

Neil Rothnie, a retired former North Sea oil worker, who made the first intervention asked: "If the Scottish Government's plans for the North Sea are replicated throughout the world's oil fields, will the planet crash and burn in the lifetime of my granddaughters?"

Having been interrupted by Mr Rothnie, Mr Carlaw said: "As always, while it's not something I encourage, I always defend the right of people to express a view if they have the opportunity to do so."

In the second intervention, an individual identified by Extinction Rebellion as Eben, said: "My apologies for the second interruption. Glasgow is hosting the COP26 this year - where is the leadership from the Scottish Government and when will the Scottish Government end its love affair with the fossil fuel industry?"

The activists were removed from the Parliament by police following their interventions.

Following the action, Extinction Rebellion released a statement that read: "Today, Extinction Rebellion Scotland staged an interruption at First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

"As Australia burns, Jakarta floods and millions are displaced by climate change worldwide, we are asking the Scottish Government to step up and be real leaders on tackling the climate crisis."

Climate activists have taken action at the Scottish Parliament previously.

In January last year, around 40 climate activists staged a peaceful occupation of Holyrood's debating chamber, urging MSPs to introduce tougher climate targets.

In June, a group of environmental activists chained themselves to the outside of the building with bike locks, demanding "radical action" to tackle the climate crisis and sending keys for the locks to senior MSPs from each of Holyrood's parties.