From Edinburgh to Cornwall, blockades to invisible theatre, RBS has felt the sting today. As of 6PM on Monday, we've heard of 25 actions so far with more expected to still come in. Read on, check back soon, and let us know if you've done something in your area! And a huge well done to all involved.
Edinburgh RBS HQ: Campaigners from Edinburgh University People and Planet group held a demonstration outside the RBS national headquarters on St. Andrew’s Street, giving out information to customers, holding banners and placards, and waving oil covered hands. Photos and full report: http://scotland.indymedia.org/newswire/display/4654/index.php
Also in Edinburgh: The locks of the main entrances to at least six Edinburgh RBS branches were glued shut last night, and all of them had to have the locks replaced today.
Bristol polar bear refugee lock-on: Six people from Bristol Rising Tide for Climate Action dressed as homeless polar bears locked themselves together (arms encased in concrete inside suitcases to symbolise displacement due to climate change) to prevent vehicles from entering the RBS corporate office at Temple Quay where over 500 RBS staff work. The blockade lasted over four hours, with police using dodgy tactics to remove the protesters.
Photos and full report: http://bristol.indymedia.org/newswire.php?story_id=26933
Video (ITV West): http://www.itvlocal.com/news/west/?player=WST_Home_26&void=108271
London RBS HQ: A dozen activists from London Rising Tide held a protest outside the RBS headquarters on Bishopsgate. Despite a heavy police presence, one activist managed to clamber on the glass canopy of the building to unfurl a banner reading ‘RBS: The Oil Bank of Scotland’. On the ground, polar bears held a die-in and others handed out more than 900 leaflets. The climber has now been arrested.
Photos and full report: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/383668.html
London roving pranks: ‘This Company is Out of Order’ signs left on 15 RBS and Natwest cash machines in central London. Pranksters do invisible theatre in branches, trying to open accounts, having arguments about RBS’ unethical policies in the queues, and leaving piles of anti-RBS leaflets amongst their corporate propaganda. They then go underground for some ‘Tube Education’, leafleting and talking to Tube passengers.
Manchester demo at RBS regional HQ: Activists from Manchester Climate Action gathered at the RBS regional HQ on Deansgate Street. Banners were displayed reading: 'Climate Change: RBS Makes It Happen' and 'No Pipeline! Green Energy Not Gas'. Protesters were greeted by 3 Tactical Aid Unit Vans and security guards, but despite police attempts to stop noise under the public order act, the samba band played and flyers were given out to workers, customers and passers by.
Photos and full report:
Norwich demo and door locks: Overnight, the RBS branch on Queen Street and the RBS-Natwest Technology group office on Exchange Street were locked shut. The Queen Street branch was prevented from opening for business for an hour and a half this morning, as locksmiths attempted to remove the lock and activists leafleted the waiting staff, customers and passers-by.
Photos and full report: https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/383708.html
Sheffield demo and invisible theatre: A group of activists held a demonstration outside an RBS branch in Broomhill, Sheffield. Later on in the day, a couple staged a through-gritted-teeth domestic argument while queuing in a branch in Church Street over whether they should be using a bank that invests in climate-destroying projects. When they got to the cashier, the man, a long-standing RBS customer of over 20 years, actually closed his RBS account, explaining his reasons to the cashier and asking to see the manager – which was apparently good enough reason for the cashier to press the emergency bell and the police to be summoned!
Full report: https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/383696.html
Truro demo at RBS branch: Twelve activists from across Cornwall gathered at the RBS branch in Truro for a two-hour demo with a friendly atmosphere and good response from passers-by. They handed out leaflets and slices of cake from a clock-shaped ‘11th hour’ cake, and made new connections that built the foundations of a climate action group for Cornwall.
Cambridge demo at RBS branch: Eight people held a demo outside the RBS branch on Trinity Street. Lots of police and FIT, at one point one per protestor! The bank was so nervous they kept the doors locked, letting customers in and locking the doors behind them.
Photos and full report: https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/383700.html
Oxford pipeline theatre at RBS & NatWest: RBS and NatWest branches were visited by activists bearing banners and wearing oil-spattered T-Shirts declaring "RBS Group - Funding Climate Change" and "Dirty Bankers - Shafting The Planet”. Activists also entered both branches with a large oil pipeline, explaining to customers and staff that they were delivering it to the branch, but couldn't leave until they'd spoken to Head Office. They cheerfully (and loudly) reminisced with staff and customers about all the other pipelines and fossil fuel projects the bank was funding, and how much climate change they were causing.
Full report: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/383695.html
Birmingham Uni campus NatWest flooded: Over thirty students from Birmingham People and Planet descended upon the Natwest branch on campus. Some were dressed in boiler suits and carried oil pipelines. Others, dressed as bankers and impersonating members of the RBS Oil and Gas Team gave a highly sarcastic presentation extolling the virtues of RBS’ oil and gas investments. There were so many protesters that they couldn’t all fit into the small branch! Upon leaving, some groups travelled around campus repeating the skit to other students.
Glasgow Treacle Tart Cabaret at RBS: After a half hour discussion with the central Glasgow RBS branch manager in which they expressed their anger about RBS’ investment in oil and gas, two intrepid activists left the branch, only to make a quick costume change and return as the hosts of the Treacle Tart Cabaret. They sang, danced, waved banners and placards, got up on the cashiers’ desks and strutted their stuff, and even performed an Oil Rap. At this point the bank decided to lock its doors, locking the Tarts in and customers out, and effectively shutting the bank down for an hour. Inside the atmosphere was positive, with the locked-in staff and customers getting into the swing of things. One of the Tarts capped off the performance by cutting up her RBS debit card as a magic trick.
Aberystwyth climate refugees at NatWest: A dozen climate change refugees queued outside NatWest to beg for a home loan because climate change was destroying their current home. Meanwhile, RBS and Nat West ATMs all mysteriously displayed signs reading ‘OUT OF ORDER’ in large letters with the very small print reading ‘RBS and Nat West investment policy’. The possible effects of climate change on a number of countries were mapped on the pavement with chalk. As the refugees were all turned down for home loans, they carried a protest banner into the bank which, being attached to helium balloons, drifted up and displayed itself from the ceiling for a good half an hour before staff managed to get it down. See the short film - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elo6jNU2-LM
Cardiff disruption at RBS and NatWest: The main Cardiff branch of RBS on St Mary's Street was closed for 3 hours after 20 activists entered the building and caused disruption. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out and banners displayed outside. The process was repeated at Natwest afterwards.
Bath’s Don’t bank on oil demo at RBS: 7 activists from Bath Activist Network held a demo at the RBS branch on Quiet Street for two hours over lunch time, inviting passers-by to ‘Open an oil rig today!’ and informing the public about the Terms and Consequences of banking with RBS. Whilst staff and police complained about the seemingly out-of-order ATM outside their door, we listened to stories of customers’ poor treatment by their bank, and also helped at least the one student find more ethical options for his new account.
Plymouth demo at RBS: After a procession along North Hill Street, a group of people held a four-hour demo at the RBS branch near Drake Circus, complete with music and drumming. A good response from passers-by, with lots of customers asking directly for leaflets.
... and more demos, pranks and propaganda against RBS and NatWest! Bradford students leafleted a campus Natwest, Reading Rising Tide held a demo at the Reading RBS branch, students did protest performance trying to 'open accounts' in St. Andrew's town centre, a travelling bard treated passengers and staff on the RBS-sponsored Heathrow Express train from Paddington to a song and a gentle rant, activists gave 'pollution awards' to two Edinburgh RBS branches by sticking posters to their walls, a group of 5 held a demo in Leamington, cash-points were stickered with anti-RBS stickers in Leicester and leaflets were stuck on lampposts in Altrincham!
Click below for the press release that was sent out midday on the 15th: