Climate change protesters who spread an oil-like substance on two busy roads in Edinburgh on Monday have been criticised for endangering motorists. Lothian and Borders police said the substance – possibly diesel or vegetable oil – was made safe after the authorities spread 7.5 tonnes of grit on the road, but described it as “an extremely reckless and dangerous act which could put many members of the public at risk”.
The incident happened at the start of a day of action by climate activists against Royal Bank of Scotland, which saw 12 people being arrested for protesting against the lender’s investment in fossil fuels such as oil extracted from tar sands. It is understood none of the arrests concerned the oil on the roads. Margaret Smith, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, said she fully supported the activists’ right to protest peacefully.
“However, reports suggest they have crossed a line by recklessly endangering people’s lives,” she said. “This is absolutely unacceptable and the police are right to take action to protect innocent people going about their daily lives.” The Camp for Climate Action said it did not know anything about the oil incident. Five arrests were made after a group of protesters occupied the head offices of Forth Energy, a company planning to build four biomass power stations in Scotland.
Simultaneously, seven protesters blocked the RBS executive car park at the Gyle business park by gluing themselves together. There were other arrests after campaigners blockaded two city centre banks. RBS said it had been one of the most active banks in the world in providing funding for renewable energy projects in recent years