ENVIRONMENTAL protesters have occupied a bridge in Edinburgh as part of a week of international demonstrations urging governments to tackle climate change

Hundreds of activists from the Extinction Rebellion Scotland group blocked North Bridge as they called on the Scottish Government to declare a climate emergency. 

They are accompanied by dozens of cyclists who converged on the city centre, causing travel disruption and long tailbacks. 

The National:

Busses were re-routed around the city and cars were diverted from about 3pm onward. 

Extinction Rebellion reported that there had been five arrests made during the protest, which is expected to last until 9pm. 

Protester Tom Younger said the occupation was "part of a much wider movement" that included school pupils striking over recent months.

He said: "We're demanding the Government goes zero carbon by 2025. It needs to tell citizens the truth about what's happening and we need a citizens' assembly to get us there because our political system isn't capable of delivering the changes that we need.

"We need those changes delivered in a democratic way if they are going to be for the benefit of everyone and not just the rich and powerful."

The National:

Police Scotland Superintendent Bob Paris added: "A policing operation is in place to provide a proportionate response to any protest activity.

"The police have both a duty to prevent crime and disorder and (to) balance the qualified rights of protesters with the rights of the wider public under the European Convention on Human Rights."

The Edinburgh demonstration follows protests in London, in which activists blocked Waterloo Bridge, and in Glasgow where campaigners scaled the Finnieston Crane.

READ MORE: Extinction Rebellion launch Edinburgh North Bridge protest

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Climate change is an extremely serious global issue.

"Scotland has been praised internationally for our world-leading efforts in this area. We are demonstrating this global leadership by setting the most ambitious statutory climate change targets of any country in the world for 2020, 2030 and 2040, which will mean Scotland is carbon neutral by 2050.

"We want to go further and achieve net-zero emissions for all greenhouse gases as soon as possible.

"We are currently awaiting advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, which is due on May 2. If the committee advise that we can now set even more ambitious targets, we will act on that."