SCOTTISH activists from protest group Extinction Rebellion (ER) have said direct action seen in Edinburgh last week is “only the beginning” of a continued campaign planned to highlight the need to save our planet for ecological meltdown.

Protesters from the environmental movement shut down North Bridge, leading to 29 arrests on Tuesday. Many Scots activists also took part in London protests, during which people blocked major roads and bridges, brought a pink boat into Oxford Circus, glued themselves to railings and trains and protested at Heathrow. By yesterday afternoon, more than 700 people had been arrested, with 28 charged and some protesters refused bail.

However, Extinction Rebellion Scotland activists told the Sunday National there was much to celebrate, claiming action had helped to educate the public about the need for action on global warming, which experts agree must be kept below 1.5%.

In response, ER Scotland is calling for the Scottish Government to “tell the truth” about the climate emergency, set up Citizen’s Assemblies to address the issue and cut carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

READ MORE: Extinction Rebellion holds protest on Edinburgh's North Bridge

While Scotland is already seeing evidence of severe weather, research by the Climate Ready Clyde review found that severe storms, regular heatwaves and heavy flooding would substantially impact Glasgow by 2050.

Andrew Naylor, 57, who got involved in Extinction Rebellion last October, said he felt that he had a “moral imperative” to take a stand.

He was involved in action taken to close five bridges in London last November and was arrested along with 12 others who occupied the National Museum of Scotland to disrupt the annual dinner of the Scottish Oil Club last month.

He was arrested for the second time on Tuesday last week on North Bridge and pledged to continue taking action until action was taken by Scottish authorities. He said: “Really this week we have had reason to celebrate,” he said. “In Scotland hundreds more people have been getting involved and there has been a great atmosphere.

“But this is just the beginning. We will continue to protest, and to disrupt, until we see action. From the Scottish Government the silence has been deafening. When are our governments going to response to this crisis? There is such a narrow window for action.”

The National:

Niamh McNulty, 19, who was co-ordinating the road block, was among those to be arrested – despite having no intention to end up behind bars initially. “The police gave a warning of people to move off the road and I very calmly sat down,” she said. “I hadn’t intended to get arrested and suddenly all of my worries just melted away. I just sat there and waited for my turn to be arrested.”

READ MORE: Oscar-winner Emma Thompson rallies London climate campaigners

The stark nature of the crisis was underlined last week by David Attenborough with the first of his new series, Climate Change: the Facts. In the documentary he warned: “It may sound frightening but if we have not taken dramatic action in the next decade we face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”

This week Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old founder of the school strikes for action against climate change, is visiting London where she will meet with political leaders in Westminster.

Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Decades of failure to act with the necessary urgency has meant unprecedented and catastrophic impacts already being felt. Politicians in Scotland and the UK are encouraging even more exploration and drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea.”

He said that to tackle the crisis adequately a range of approaches were needed. “That means we need people in the room with politicians, we need people building solutions and helping those already affected by climate change and we need people ready to disrupt business as usual and hold polluters to account,” he added.

With the Climate Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament he urged politicians to put in place far stronger targets to cut emissions within the next decade. “The situation is very urgent but the current proposals from the Scottish Government would result in no extra emissions reduction effort at all between now and 2030,” he said.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman 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 which will mean Scotland is carbon neutral by 2050.

“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.”