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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
01 August 2023
Climate activists This Is Rigged cover Scottish Parliament entrance in red paint

This is Rigged activists after vandalising the Scottish Parliament | Picture: Chris Marshall

Climate activists This Is Rigged cover Scottish Parliament entrance in red paint

Climate activists have sprayed the public entrance of the Scottish Parliament red after 100 new oil and gas licences were announced for the North Sea.

The group known as This is Rigged hurled said it was also reacting to the Scottish Government’s “silence” over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement yesterday.

In a video posted to Twitter four people are seen vandalising the building, while a man tries to wash off the damage with a hose.  

This is Rigged said: “The action follows Rishi Sunak’s announcement in favour of 100 new oil and gas licenses yesterday.  

“The Scottish Government’s silence on new oil and gas is deafening. They must vocally oppose ALL new oil and gas, or they are complicit.”

The group wrote to First Minister Humza Yousaf last week asking him to oppose any new oil and gas projects and ensure a fully funded and fair transition for oil workers.

This is Rigged have become prolific for protesting at the Scottish Parliament, particularly causing disruption during First Minister’s questions.  

The frequency of their activism in the viewing gallery led to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone introducing new rules for members of the public, including the banning of mobile phones while overlooking the chamber. 

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell had described the granting of new licences as "utterly reckless".

He said: “It is probably the single most consequential decision Rishi Sunak will make as prime minister and he has chosen the worst possible option.

“It shows a total disregard for our environment and for future generations. If these licences go ahead it will be a big leap towards climate chaos.”

Police Scotland confirmed that four people have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident. 

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Four people have been arrested and charged in connection with a protest at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday, 1 August, 2023.

"The women, aged 21, 23, 27 and 27, are due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday, 2 August, 2023."

Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “These protestors have repeatedly targeted the Scottish Parliament and its democratic functions.

“As a result of their actions today, we have had to cancel our free public tours and close the building earlier than scheduled.

“Up to 1,000 people visit Holyrood a day at this time of year, and many will have been severely inconvenienced – not just those who had booked on to tours but other members of the public who wish to visit and engage with their national Parliament.

“This is now a matter for Police Scotland.”

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Read the most recent article written by Ruaraidh Gilmour - Scotland's circular economy: What goes around comes around.

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