Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie refuses to condemn extremist climate protesters who break the law when causing disruption
- Patrick Harvie came under fire for refusing to urge activists not to break the law
A Scottish government minister has refused to condemn extremist climate protesters who break the law when causing disruption.
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-leader and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, has come under fire for ‘disgraceful and downright irresponsible’ comments after he repeatedly refused to urge activists not to break the law.
It led to fears that activists will feel they can get away with ‘disruptive and dangerous law-breaking’ in Scotland.
Mr Harvie’s comments come just weeks after the high-profile men’s road race at the Cycling World Championships was disrupted for almost an hour in Glasgow because of action by the This is Rigged group.
Douglas Lumsden, Scottish Conservative spokesman for net zero, energy and transport, said: ‘It’s no wonder extremist protesters think they can get away with law-breaking, when these are the comments from a government minister.
Patrick Harvie (pictured), the Scottish Greens co-leader and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, has come under fire for ‘disgraceful and downright irresponsible’ comments after he repeatedly refused to urge activists not to break the law
‘Publicity-seeking protests such as those witnessed at the World Cycling Championships last month are reckless and dangerous, often putting the life and limb of both protestors and the public at risk.
‘It’s disgraceful and downright irresponsible for the Green minister to refuse to condemn disruptive and dangerous law-breaking, simply because it comes from hard-line climate activists.
‘People in Scotland are sick and tired of these childish stunts, and will be shocked by Patrick Harvie’s weak refusal to denounce these acts.’
Mr Harvie made the comments during an appearance on the BBC’s The Sunday Show in Scotland.
Presenter Martin Geissler highlighted that the Springwatch presenter Chris Packham has suggested the public should consider breaking the law to protect the climate in a controversial Channel 4 documentary.
Asked directly if it is time to break the law on this, Mr Harvie said: ‘I have immense sympathy with anyone who struggles with this question.
It has led to fears that activists will feel they can get away with ‘disruptive and dangerous law-breaking’ in Scotland (File image of Edinburgh)
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‘Many people have found themselves effectively feeling disempowered, and the only way they can take power into their hands is to take part in direct action.
‘I will never condemn that, it should be peaceful direct action – I’ve taken part in peaceful direct action in the past.’
Pushed again on whether he would condone law-breaking, he said: ‘What I would say on this is that the only thing that is going to prevent people from taking ever more desperate action is government bringing the urgency to this that it demands.
‘The Scottish Government is determined to but we are being held back by the UK Government that is saying climate change is our next wedge issue, the next front in the culture war.’
Mr Harvie also accused Rishi Sunak of a ‘deeply irresponsible set of announcements’ last week, when he announced delays to some key climate commitments.
He said: ‘What the UK Government wants is to use this as a wedge issue between those who say we need to take action and those who say no, and as a result, within minutes of him making that speech the phrase ‘climate scam’ was trending on Twitter.
‘We are now seeing outright climate denial on a scale we haven’t seen before and the Tories love it.’
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