Thirteen arrests after environmental protesters occupy National Museum of Scotland

Police have arrested 13 people after a group of environmental protesters staged an occupation of the National Museum of Scotland to disrupt the annual dinner of the Scottish Oil Club.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland occupied the National Museum of Scotland to disrupt the annual dinner of the Scottish Oil Club.

The museum was set to host 890 fossil fuel industry leaders for an event to celebrate the industry. Instead a group of 20 activists from Extinction Rebellion Scotland occupied the main hall of the Museum, and said they were hoping to force the cancellation of the event. A banner has also been dropped over the balcony.

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The group said their ‘peaceful people’s assembly’was aimed at focusing on the damage done to the world by the fossil fuel industry and paths to transition away from it.

A demonstration was also being held outside the museum, where crowds gathered to celebrate an alternative, fossil fuel-free future,

The members of the Scottish Oil Club include representatives of companies such as Shell, Total and BP.

Protestor Robert Alcock said: “I am disrupting the Scottish Oil Club annual dinner because we shouldn’t allow this industry, which profits from destroying the earth, to celebrate in our museum. In 2002 I witnessed the Prestige oil spill, which devastated the beautiful northern coast of Spain where I was living and working. This made me realise that oil and life just don’t mix. Sooner or later we have to get rid of fossil fuels all together and the sooner the better.”

Mim Black, 26, commented “The fossil fuel industry has hoodwinked the British public into believing they are an asset to the country - I believe it is a drain. Fossil fuel lobbying threatens democracy. Climate chaos is already underway across the planet, and we know that the fossil fuel industry is a major driver of this. We must immediately start putting safety before profit.”

Another Extinction Rebellion activist commented: “The oil industry has brought us to the brink of extinction. They have irreversibly damaged and desecrated our one and only precious planet. They have lined their pockets with the ashes of our collective future. They have built obscene amounts of wealth through war, genocide, and by poisoning our water, our air, and our land.

“The oil industry’s own scientists have understood nearly everything that we now know about climate change since 1979. They’ve been fully aware of the dire consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels for over 30 years and instead of changing course, they decided that it was more important for a handful people to hoard hundreds of billions of dollars, than it was for humanity to have access to a habitable planet. I can imagine no worse crime than this.”

Extinction Rebellion Scotland described themselves as a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.

In a statement, Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland deployed to a pre-planned protest at the National Museum of Scotland. At close of normal business protestors refused to leave the museum building. Following a period of negotiation Police provided a proportionate response to the protest and 13 persons were subsequently arrested.”