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Police called to climate change bridge banner protest in Moray

Police have been called to a climate change demonstration in Moray after protestors attached banners to a bridge.

Extinction Rebellion activists fixed the “no future in fossil fuels” and “tell the truth” signs to a footbridge over the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road in Elgin at about 8am today.

However, despite similar demonstrations passing without incident in Forres earlier this year, police were called about an hour later after roads officials raised objections.

Banners were attached to either side of the footbridge. Picture by Jason Hedges.

Demonstrators told the Press and Journal staff from Bear Scotland said “safety concerns” had been raised about the signs at the bridge, which is also a popular spot for birthday banners to be hung from.

Police were called to the scene when activists blocked attempts from the officials to remove the banners.

Protestor Simon Clark said: “The safety issue appeared to be from drivers looking up and becoming distracted, which is of course a possibility, but the roads are full of distractions and signs.

Police speak to Extinction Rebellion demonstrators. Picture by Jason Hedges.

“The police were very good and accepted the distraction was negligible, checked the fixings on the banners, and were impressed by them.

“We’re aware our messaging isn’t comfortable. I don’t think we would have had the same issue if it had said ‘Happy birthday Gillian’ or ‘Bless you NHS.’”

Police explained no action was taken against the demonstrators.

Inspector Keli McPhail said: “At around 8.45am, officers were called to a report of a protest on Alexandra Road, over the A96 in Elgin.

“Officers attended and spoke to those in attendance. The protest is peaceful and organised and an appropriate policing response has been deployed to maintain safety of the public and minimise disruption to affected communities.”

A Bear Scotland spokeswoman said: “Trunk road safety is a top priority for BEAR Scotland, and any unauthorised road signs or banners that could distract drivers are removed for safety reasons once highlighted to our teams.”

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