The Scottish Greens co-leader was asked if he endorsed protests in Edinburgh and London which has angered people but did not answer.
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Patrick Harvie on the Sunday Show

Patrick Harvie refused to condemn protestors who evoked public anger by pouring milk out in an Edinburgh Waitrose and threw tomato soup at a Van Gogh painting in London.

The Scottish Greens co-leader was asked on BBC’s Sunday Show by Martin Geissler whether he endorsed those sort of protests being a Scottish Government minister.

And Mr Harvie did not condemn it instead lauding “peaceful, non-violent” protests which he said needs to be done to get change in the country.

Just Stop Oil took credit for throwing tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers masterpiece, while Animal Rebellion poured out milk at a Waitrose in Edinburgh.

Mr Harvie said: “Protests, peaceful, direct, non-violent action has always been part of how political movements achieved change in society and it does need to be peaceful.

“It does need to be non-violent but I also understand absolutely people’s anger having found other forms of protest and campaigning, less effective.

“So the important thing is how do we achieve that change that the world nows that we need to change our dependence on fossil fuel which is not only trashing the planet it’s also giving geopolitical power to aggressive bullies like the Russian President.

“How do we restore nature and recognise that the incredible harm being done to our biodiversity. Just this morning my colleagues announced a new package of measures which would restore nature in Scotland.”

Video footage of vegan protestors pouring litres of milk on the floor of an Edinburgh Waitrose was blasted on social media as people pointed out that it is the poor staff who need to clean it up.

Two young women were filmed taking bottles of milk off the refrigerated shelf before spilling their contents over the ground. A third demonstrator stood in front of the fridges holding a sign that read: “Plant based future.”

 

Patrick Harvie refuses to condemn protestors who poured milk out in Waitrose and threw soup at painting 1
The Waitrose branch in Edinburgh was targeted on Saturday (Image: Animal Rebellion)

A male store worker interrupted an impassioned speech from one of the activists and tried to usher her away from the fridges saying “you’ve made your point”.

Animal Rebellion say the protest was part of a co-ordinated action across stores in London, Norwich, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Actress Amanda Abbington wrote: “What is it with really, really stupid and unhelpful protests at the moment. This isn’t going to get people on your side. The dairy industry is terribly cruel and environmentally a disaster but doing this is going to turn people towards it. This is a PR disaster for you. So sad.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, activists from the Just Stop Oil group threw tomato soup over Van Gogh’s masterpiece Sunflowers at the National Gallery. Two women walked into a room at the gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square at about 11am.

They threw the contents of two tins of Heinz tomato soup over the famous 1888 painting, which has an estimated value of £72.5m. Police arrested two people for criminal damage and aggravated trespass.

The National Gallery said there is “minor damage” to the frame of the painting, but the work is “unharmed” and is now back on display.

Dairy farmers still reeling from floods have been given a helping hand, with the state and federal governments locking in funding for key projects to prepare for the next disaster.

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