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Four arrested and hundreds more trapped in police kettle for hours at XR protest.

At least four members of the environmental activism group, Extinction Rebellion (XR) were arrested today after protests broke out in the city centre. 

The four activists reportedly tried to force their way into the SSE energy company offices, and were subsequently detained by security and police. They are also accused of spraying paint at police officers. 

It follows a wave of protests in Glasgow during COP26, where world leaders are convening in Glasgow to tackle the climate change crisis. The protests today were part of XR’s “Greenwash March”, where companies accused of “greenwashing” have been specifically targeted. "Greenwashing" in this case is when a company pays to advertise themselves as friends of the environment, while continuing to cause ecological destruction. Along with the SSE building, crowds also gathered outside Bank of Scotland and set off flares outside JP Morgan.

During the protest the police "kettled" activists for four hours. According to the official XR live update stream this began at 14.35pm on Wellington Street and protests were only "allowed to disperse" at 19.06pm, when outside the blue zone. 

The Glasgow Guardian spoke to two University of Glasgow students about their experience in the kettle yesterday, who said: "It was horrible. We weren't allowed to talk to the police so didn't know when we were going to get out, that was for three hours, stationary. Before the march we had pre-arranged groups [with the police] but they blocked us off and kettled us."

Gary Ritchie, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, told the BBC today: "A number of officers were assaulted after being sprayed with paint." He went on to add that "two arrests have been made in relation to this so far and cans of spray paint have been seized". Since this statement XR have officially announced to their followers that four people have in fact been arrested. 

Speaking to The Glasgow Guardian an XR spokesperson has said: "Four Extinction Rebels were arrested for blockading and throwing paint at the SSE building on Waterloo Street. By sponsoring COP26, SSE are trying to nurture an image that they are a responsible environmental company. In reality, they run Scotland’s most polluting fossil fuel power plant, and are responsible for crimes against humanity."


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