While Edinburgh's streets were lined with spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the pomp and glamour of King Charles' Scottish Coronation today, some in the crowd were there for a different reason. I spent the day with activists from This is Rigged, a direct action group demanding the Scottish Government vocally oppose all new oil and gas licenses. 

With no idea as to what This is Rigged's plans were, kept under tight wraps, I joined the crowds lining the Royal Mile to await the action. The activists I was standing with would be arrested later in the afternoon. 

The fellow onlookers around us, who chatted merrily with the hope of seeing the new King, also had no idea. This is Rigged were in a different mood to the rest - one of determination to get their point across, for which they were willing to face arrest. 

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As we waited for the procession to commence, in amongst onlookers who had come from near and afar to catch a glimpse of history, I made small talk by asking whether arrest is something the activists were really prepared for and what they think of King Charles’ reputation of being an environmentalist. Hannah and Imogen were absolutely willing to be arrested for their cause, and in a climate crisis they don’t see Charles’ approach to the environment as enough. 

One woman next to us began to chat enthusiastically about how she had stood on the Royal Mile several times over the years to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family, of which she is a fervent supporter. She was just disappointed that the new King would not be travelling by horse and cart so as to catch a better view. Another royal fan grew annoyed and called out a fellow spectator, who was English, for calling Charles the ‘King of England’ rather than the ‘King of the United Kingdom’. She would be even more annoyed when my activists from This is Rigged would begin shouting about the climate as the procession kicked off. 

The activists described how they plotted to run off immediately after the action and change into a new set of clothes in a bid to avoid arrest. Whatever they were planning, it grew apparent to me that it would be near impossible to come to fruition given the surrounding police presence – two officers in front of the barrier where they were positioned, and another two in the crowd directly behind them. 

As the first fleet of horses began plodding down the Royal Mile, Hannah jumped up and began shouting to the crowd about This is Rigged’s demands. I was later informed the plan had been for the activists to jump the barrier and get in front of the procession – there was no chance of this happening with six police officers surrounding the activists, aged 20 and 21, to drop them down and usher them out of the five-person-deep crowd. Although they did not make it this far, the group did get a platform for their message. 

A couple of hours later and it transpired that two of the group, Hannah and Imogen, had been arrested and were in police custody.

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This is Rigged were not the only protestors in the Edinburgh crowd amongst the supporters who chatted about their admiration of the royals and memories of watching them over the years. Just up the hill were a group of republicans holding bright yellow ‘Not my King!’ placards. But environmental protestors are known for their more disruptive ways of protest, and the coronation was no different – so far This is Rigged are the only confirmed arrests by Police Scotland

King Charles’ Scottish coronation and the spectacle of the day, which was enjoyed by many, may not seem to have an obvious correlation with the Scottish Government’s attitudes to oil and gas projects. To this, the arrested activists said: “This is not about the King - frankly, we couldn’t care less about an old man getting a new sword. Our loyalties lie with the Scottish people. We want a fair future for our people, and for people around the world living on the frontlines of climate disaster. Whilst we hand the King the Honours of Scotland, we are handing our children a poisoned chalice.”