Rising Tide UK: 23 actions against the “Oil” Bank of Scotland and counting

From Edinburgh to Cornwall, blockades to invisible theatre, RBS has felt the sting today. As of 5PM on Monday, we’ve heard of 23 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

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 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: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/383681.html

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 demo and pipeline theatre: RBS and NatWest branches 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 flood campus NatWest: 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. Oil pipes and boiler suits. Dressed as bankers. Went in and gave mock presentation, impersonated oil and gas team. Extolled virtues of RBS. 20 minutes. Did presentation again a few more times on campus. 30 people. Couldn’t all fit in. Birmingham People and Planet.

Glasgow Treacle Tart Cabaret: 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.

Actions are also planned today for Aberdeen, Plymouth, Kendal and more – check back soon for updates!

(And let us know on info risingtide.org.uk if we’ve got anything wrong so we can fix it for future use)

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