12 Arrested after bank climate demo

In Europe, Governments & Politics, News Headlines, Protests & Campaigns

A day of mass action by climate protesters has led to 12 arrests and caused disruption in Edinburgh.

An estimated 500 activists set up a Camp for Climate Action behind the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) headquarters in the city five days ago to protest against its funding of fossil fuel companies which they say are destroying the planet.

RBS had advised many of its staff to work from home. The bank is almost wholly owned by the Government, which has an 84% stake.

The action saw activists bring traffic to a halt after they created an “oil slick” on two of the main routes into the city. Lothian and Borders Police said a substance similar to diesel or vegetable oil was poured on to the carriageways on the Edinburgh city bypass – the A720 at Bankhead – and the westbound A8.

Their actions were criticised by police and politicians.

Margaret Smith, Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh West, accused protesters of “recklessly endangering people’s lives”.

She said: “This is absolutely unacceptable and the police are right to take action to protect innocent people going about their daily lives.”

Fellow Lib Dem, Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart, said: “The irresponsible behaviour seen on public roads could have caused serious injury or worse, and all reasonable people will join me in condemning these actions.”

A police spokesman said: “This is an extremely reckless and dangerous act which could put many members of the public at risk.”

Police said around 500 people were staying at the camp, who moved to the RBS site throughout the day. They said no one gained access to any of RBS’s premises and there were no reports of injuries.

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