Extinction Rebellion activists staged a protest in Edinburgh this weekend, as the UK’s energy price cap soared to a historic high.
Campaigners on Saturday dressed in rags with chains around their necks walked to a slow drum beat from the city’s Princes Street to the UK Government office on Sibbald Walk, led by mock oil company “bosses” from Shell, BP and Russian energy giant, Gazprom.
They carried placards highlighting issues and met with “Liz Truss” who presented the bosses with a “licence to drill”. Each then daubed their citizens in “oil” as they knelt before them.
Extinction Rebellion’s red rebels were on hand to offer comfort to the citizens and encourage reflection on the multiple crises the country is facing before the procession moved on to the Scottish Parliament.
On Saturday, UK energy bills rose to record-high levels with estimates showing households could pay an extra £500 annually on average, with millions expected to be in fuel poverty.
Extinction Rebellion say record temperatures and wildfires in London have brought the issue of climate change into the public consciousness.
Mike Grant, 62, a retired Army officer from Rosewell, said: “The climate crisis hit the UK with a vengeance this summer.
“The science has been clear for years but now we are seeing what that means in reality. And we have a war in Europe underpinned by oil and gas and a cost-of-living crisis that threatens to drive millions into poverty.
“At a time when wind is nine times cheaper than gas, our Government-enabled addiction to fossil fuel has to end forever.”
Simon Clark, 62, an architect in Edinburgh’s West End, said: “The fossil fuel industry has openly enslaved our society, allowing it to create havoc in the environment whilst making record profits with complete impunity.
“Our elected representatives have enabled this catastrophic state of affairs and failed to curb the industry’s obscene excesses.
“We need to acknowledge the single driving force behind this perfect storm of cost-of-living crisis, climate crisis and Putin’s war – fossil fuels.”
The action in Edinburgh came as thousands of activists gathered across the country in protest against soaring energy prices and the climate crisis.
Demonstrations were held in cities including London, Glasgow and Belfast and coincided with postal and rail strikes, as well as the rise in average electricity bills.
Meanwhile, on Sunday pressure group Just Stop Oil (JSO) said 250 of its supporters held marches through central London, where they disrupted traffic in shopping districts and tourist hubs before carrying out a sit-down protest on Waterloo Bridge.
A JSO spokesman said: “We will continue in civil resistance until this government takes immediate steps to meet our demand to end the cost-of-living and climate crisis by stopping new oil and gas.
“We need to start a rapid transformation to a fairer society, decided by ordinary people and paid for by those who are profiting from humanity’s destruction.”
They said their protest began as activists took to the streets in three separate marches which left from Euston, Paddington and Waterloo at around midday.
The Metropolitan Police said a total of 31 people were arrested in central London, including 29 who were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway after a protest on Waterloo Bridge.