Climate Camp Targets RBS

In Europe, News Headlines, Protests & Campaigns

The latest Climate Camp protest is targeting the Edinburgh headquarters of the government owned Royal Bank of Scotland.

Around 100 activists are on site now – setting up marquees, eco-toilets and kitchens.

Workshops and training sessions are also taking place to prepare activists for a day of “direct action” on Monday.

They are setting up camp in Gogarburn after the location was revealed via a mass text message.

On Friday one protester dressed up as a banker managed to superglue her hands to the front desk inside the RBS building.

She was arrested and an ambulance called to remove her.

A spokesman for the group, who preferred to be named only as Ben, told Sky News Online why RBS is being targeted: “It is majority owned by the government and investing in fossil fuels. It is using tax payers money to invest in our destruction.”

Peter McDonnell, who is helping establish the camp said: “We are conducting training relating to direct action to give people the skills and confidence to take part in the mass action to target RBS.”

He expects up to 700 people to be at the camp by Monday.

As for what tactics the group will use on the day, Mr McDonnell said blockades or an occupation of the RBS building was being considered.

“Last year people managed to get into the main RBS building and superglue themselves there, so we expect variations on that theme,” he said.

The protest is the latest in a long line of action by the group – the first demonstration took place at Drax power station in 2006.

Since then camps have been held at Heathrow, Kingsnorth, the G20 and Blackheath in south east London.

Ben explained the aim of the group: “We see ourselves in the tradition of the civil rights movement and the suffragettes.”

“It’s our political and financial system that’s supporting climate change. We need to take action against those that are fuelling climate change. We are not lobbying, we are taking direct action.”

Past protests have drawn heavy criticism of the police and the tactics used during them.

An official report into the handling of the Kingsnorth protests in 2008 found that the blanket use of stop and search powers was “disproportionate and counterproductive”.

Mr McDonnell hopes things will be different this time. He said: “Things have been relatively calm and collected so far. Touch wood the police have learned some lessons from previous demonstrations.”

Lesley Clark, Superintendent of West Lothian and Borders Police said the force will try to facilitate the protest as much as possible.

“The mood has been good so far and we hope that continues, but we reserve the right to act if the mood changes.”

Ben thinks the police may have to be called into action: “When it comes to something as important as climate change some people feel they have to break the law to address the issue.”

An RBS spokeswoman said the company had offered to meet with the protesters.

“Our top priority is securing the safety of our staff and customers and we urge the protesters to make their point peacefully.”

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