Protesters who launched a “climate rebellion” bringing central London to 
a standstill to demand action over the world’s growing ecological disaster will blockade parts of Edinburgh today.

Thousands gathered in central London yesterday, cutting off Waterloo Bridge, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square – with an impromptu garden party over the Thames and sitdown protests. 

In Glasgow, four people were reported to the procurator fiscal after scaling the Finnieston Crane to unfurl a banner in the direction of news outlets over the River Clyde in a 5am climb. Others tied banners to the stonework of Glasgow City Chambers.

Today, members of the Extinction Rebellion group will blockade North Bridge in Edinburgh between 3pm and 9pm, bringing rush-hour traffic to a standstill as they call on politicians to declare a climate emergency.

The protests are part of two weeks of action across the UK.

Campaigner Anna Fisk, a university lecturer, said: “I’ve got involved in civilly-disobedient direct action as a last resort, because the ecological situation is desperate and we need those in power to take immediate, drastic action.

“We’re blocking roads to cause major disruption to our capital city, potentially getting arrested and having to pay fines and risk our livelihoods, because we have no other choice.

“I’m in my mid-30s and thinking about starting a family, but am terrified about the devastation wrought by climate breakdown that a child born today will grow up to face.”

Extinction Rebellion are demanding immediate action over environmental destruction, claiming humans are at threat if climate change and the loss of biodiversity continues.

The group is calling on the UK Government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a citizens’ assembly to devise an emergency action plan to tackle climate change.

The protests in Scotland saw a banner reading “Science not silence” hung on the Finnieston Crane, while the sign at the city chambers read: “When the last tree has fallen, Humanity can’t hide, Money won’t solve it, What’s your alibi?”

A “festival of climate reality” also took place in Edinburgh.

Explaining the reasons for protesting, one Extinction Rebellion member in Glasgow said: “We are just ordinary citizens and we want the council to act responsibly and save us from this accelerating disaster that may lead to serious flooding and food shortages in Scotland and across the world. Twenty-seven other UK councils have declared a climate emergency. Why hasn’t Glasgow?”

Daryl Tayar, another member of the group, added: “I’m sure Robert Burns would’ve been happy to wear such a symbol – his poetry shows just how much he loved the environment and how radical his politics were.

“He said it himself: ‘I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion has broken Nature’s social union.’ If he were alive today, he’d be asking the city council to declare a climate emergency.”

Activists will today be briefed on being arrested ahead of the bridge blockade in Edinburgh, which includes plans for a “critical mass bike ride” to join what has been dubbed an “emergency roadblock”.

Similar protests are set to continue in London, with activists blocking roads around the city.
Members of the group used a truck to block off a road in Marble Arch yesterday, with campaigners locking themselves under the vehicle.

They also parked a boat at Oxford Circus and smashed a glass door at oil company Shell’s London headquarters.

In Parliament Square, protesters unfurled banners, held up placards and waved flags as speakers took to the stage.

Extinction Rebellion said protests would continue throughout the week “escalating the creative disruption across the capital day by day”.

It follows a string of protests in recent months – including when around 40 Extinction Rebellion activists occupied the debating chamber at the Scottish Parliament and a naked protest at Westminster.

Glasgow City Councillor Anna Richardson said: “There can be no doubt that Glasgow, along with the rest of the world, is facing a climate emergency. The enormous challenge created by climate change is exactly why the council has set up a working group and asked for recommendations on the way forward.

“Members of Extinction Rebellion are part of our climate emergency working group. This gives them a real opportunity to influence what Glasgow does in the face of a global threat.”

Scottish Greens climate spokesman Mark Ruskell MSP said: “It’s great to see citizen action highlighting the threat posed by climate breakdown.

Unfortunately, every other party voted against our proposal to declare a climate emergency last month in the Scottish Parliament. Only the Greens are willing to take the necessary action to tackle the climate crisis. 

“The people of Scotland will soon have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to taking the bold and urgent action required to tackle the climate emergency by electing Scotland’s first Green MEP.”

The Scottish Government insists the country’s climate policies are among the most ambitious in the world.

Scotland’s first target to reduce CO2 emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 has already been met.