Manchester students occupy roof of Royal Bank of Scotland

Around 35 students held a climate change ‘Eviction Demonstration’ outside (and on top of) a Royal Bank of Scotland branch at the University of Manchester Students Union on Wednesday 11th February 2009. The group from People and Planet have submitted a motion to the Union General Meeting proposing that the Union does not renew the lease for RBS’ branch when it expires in January 2010.

The demo began on the steps of the Student Union at noon. RBS had hired in extra security, and the campus cops were sniffing around. So a group went to the front of the RBS and talked loudly of their plans for ‘rapid information dessimination’.

Whilst this distraction ensued, tieing up security, a second group snuck round the back and climbed aboard the roof. From here they dropped banners advertising RBS’ fossil fuel investments and advertising the Union general meeting the following week.

Meanwhile the rapid information dessimination went ahead with everyone racing off to speak to as many people as they could in 20 minutes before returning back to the RBS branch to compare scores.

The Royal Bank of Scotland provided $16 billion for coal companies and exploration projects from May 2006 to April 2008. This has included some of the dirtiest and most dangerous oil and gas projects including the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline in Tiblisi, Georgia which has been criticised by Amnesty, WWF, and Friends of the Earth for its human rights and pollution impacts. The embedded emissions from RBS loans total more than those of the whole of Scotland.

Toby Brett, 19, Physics Student at Manchester University says; “We hope to send a clear message to RBS that if they continue with their irresponsible investments then they will not be welcome to rent branch space from our student union.”

This action was part of a wider national campaign calling for a boycott on RBS in September 2009.

Manchester People and Planet have previously staged a flashmob protest against RBS at a University recruitment event
(http://earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/node/21650)

And awarded RBS a spoof greenwash award at their regional headquarters in Deansgate.
(http://earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/node/21907)

For more detail on RBS’ climate crimes please visit:
www.peopleandplanet.org/ditchdirtydevelopment
www.oyalbankofscotland.com