Climate Camp Protesters Blockade Royal Bank of Scotland Building

Published on
by
The Guardian/UK

Climate Camp Protesters Blockade Royal Bank of Scotland Building

Activists superglue themselves together on City trading room floor in protest against investments in fossil fuel projects

by
Peter Walker

Climate campaigners chain themselves together as they block the entrance to the London headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland (Photograph: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images)

Environmental activists based at the Climate Camp in London blockaded the local headquarters of Royal Bank of Scotland today, supergluing themselves together on the bank's trading floor as part of a series of direct-action protests around the City.

Shortly after 8am, a group of demonstrators used stepladders and bicycle D-locks to blockade the main entrance to the building on Bishopsgate. A smaller number rushed inside and gained access to the second-floor trading room, where they glued themselves together.

Calling the action "an anti-banks holiday", the group said they were demonstrating against RBS's investments in fossil fuel projects, notably funding for the coal industry and tar sands extraction in Canada.

The activists on the trading floor were taken out of the building after police medics used solvents to remove the glue, said Elly Robson, one of the protesters blockading the entrance.

"RBS is a publicy owned bank which is taking environmental action which is not in the public interest," she said. "The people on the trading floor managed to get this message right to the bank's bosses."

There had been no arrests, and police had made no attempt to remove those blockading the entrance, she said.

Also today, another group of activists from the Climate Camp, which set up on Wednesday on common land at Blackheath, south-east London, protested at the office building occupied by Edelman, an international PR company that has among its clients the energy firm E.ON.

A group of naked demonstrators stood in a window of the building on Victoria Street, in central London, covering themselves in a banner saying "Climate lies uncovered".

A member of the camp's media team, Richard Howlett, said there were two other actions taking place. One was a march around the City, in which indigenous Canadian activists were protesting at environmental damage caused by the exploitation of tar sands in the country.

Another group was marching from the Climate Camp towards the Bank of England, he said, adding: "Whether or not that turns into another direct action, we'll have to wait and see."

The Climate Camp at Blackheath is the fourth annual incarnation of the temporary environmental protest site. In previous years, it has set up at two coal-fired power stations and Heathrow airport.

Over the last five days, 1,000 or more people have stayed at the site, which has been fitted out with marquees, communal kitchens and compost toilets. The camp has also been used as a base from which to launch protests against organisations perceived to be harming the environment.

Unlike in previous years, the camp is not ending with a mass demonstration. Instead, those attending are being encouraged to go to E.ON's Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fuelled power station in Nottinghamshire on 17 and 18 October.

In April, police arrested 114 people on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage and aggravated trespass in an apparent attempt to pre-empt a protest at the plant.

The arrests, and the policing of the G20 protests earlier in April, which included a Climate Camp action, prompted widespread criticism and claims of brutality. The Metropolitan police promised a "community-style" approach to the Blackheath camp, and have thus far kept a low profile.

"With the relative lack of pressure from police, we have been able to spend a lot of time at Climate Camp preparing people for the direct action in October," Howlett said.

Share This Article

More in: