Reposts

Message to RBS: We’re Just Getting Started

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People & Planet joined by scores of others at the RBS Week of Action

In 2007 People & Planet and Platform launched a campaign for the Royal Bank of Scotland to stop funding fossil fuel extraction and “ditch dirty development”, with groups across the country putting on talks, asking difficult questions at careers fairs, protesting at branches. Various activists including those from the Rising Tide network held a day of action that autumn hitting local press, plastering cash machines, and shutting down several branches. Back then, climate denial was a still valid currency for the bank and that familiar green-wash sheen was only just being cooked up.

Within months they has closed their website “www.oilandgasbank.com”, changed their stance on global warming, signs went up in their branches proclaiming their sustainable policies, and careers fair staff were given lines to say to respond to criticism.

The campaign gathered steam at the 2008 RBS AGM, as Student Unions started changing bank accounts, removing RBS advertising from their premises, and calling for disinvestment.

When the Government bailed out the bank in late 2008 they asked no questions about their investments, and Westminster MPs, prompted by constituent People & Planet and World Development Movement members, started to ask why Government money was going into a bank that was directly eroding Government policies. The UK Treasury was now under the spotlight. A legal challenge was launched about their takeover with backing from Leigh Day & Co solicitors, and during the aftermath of the G20 meeting in London, Pandas made national news “cleaning up” the 2009 AGM, and later the Treasury during the London Climate Camp.

By then, the primarily public owned bank had poured billions into coal and tar sands exploitation, and the campaign was growing. The World Development Movement, Platform and People & Planet were still asking questions about front-line fossil fuel extraction, but Amnesty International was also was calling on the bank to own up to investing in companies causing human rights abuses, and Friends of the Earth Scotland wanted an explanation for its links with companies like Conoco Phillips, poisoning First Nation communities in Canada.

This week, standing together with indigenous people of Athabasca, that coalition has become a truly powerful force for change.

Everyone can be proud of their part in this campaign which has taken finance from being a disregarded industry into the spotlight as a true root cause of social and environmental injustice. We look to the summer, with a Climate Camp focused on the bank’s activities, with eager anticipation. This aint over yet.

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Reposts

G20: Our Record of Events

18 March 2019. Some Indymedia content has started to dissapear from the web, so I have copied remaining sources into the body of the article.

This is a collection of stories about the G20 actions on the 1st and 2nd of April created by Panda members.  Giving them a proper read if you can, as they need to be read.

THE DAY AS IT HAPPENED

Text updates and calls were sent from loads of you guys across the city, and can be found at http://twitter.com/panda_power . They make a compelling and at times chilling read. Combined with other reportings they were written up as these articles by Panda#02:

April 1st 2009, 7.30pm: ‘Peaceful Oasis of City Camp Battered by Riot Police’

Originally posted on Indymedia UK.

Police move in to violently break up a peaceful and jolly Climate Camp street party. They plan to resist through the night.

A diverse group of anarchists, environmentalists, peace activists, and world leaders descended on the City of London today, all concerned about the global economic crisis and seeking positive solutions. Those with less direct involvement in the day’s official meetings held their own in the streets, waving colourful flags and banners and dressed in imaginative costumes.

Of all the day’s gathering’s the Climate Camp crowd, who flocked in their thousands to occupy the road of Bishopsgate outside the European Climate Exchange, held the most peaceful vigil. Whilst some at the Bank of England had disagreements with the police and the banks they stood in front of, Climate Camp in the City has been a truly positive space offering tea, food, and workshops among its array of pop-up tents. Throughout the day this Panda #02 has had reports of jolly exchanges with peaceful police and a generally super atmosphere. All in all, a wonderful carnival of a street party.

At 7.15pm, someone high up decided this had to stop, and police began to assemble in riot gear before attempting to seal off the camp site. Over 100 riot officers moved in to stop protesters leaving or entering the camp, and then attempted to sweep inside, pushing sitting campers back into a squash as resisters sung “this is not a riot.” One told me that they were hit repeatedly with a baton whilst holding their hands up. Nonetheless, campers continue to hold the space, and have announced they will stay their for 24 hours. Last in was that “cops have sealed off the area and are standing waiting with weapons.” Campers remain defiant. Watch this space.

April 1st 2009, 10pm: ‘Sitting Protestors Attacked Outside Camp Cordon’

Originally posted on Indymedia UK.

Riot police trample shocked protesters caught outside Climate Camp, Bishopsgate.

Activists from Panda (connected with People & Planet) were clearly shaken when describing police brutality outside the Climate Camp on Bishopsgate.

Guy from Leeds said “I tried to text but I’m shaking too much… they cut us off from the camp so we sat here peacefully at the North end. All of a sudden they moved on to us.” Hannah from Oxford told: “We were sitting on the ground as we had been for hours. Unprovoked and giving no warning they forced their way forward swiping at us with batons. I’ve been hit over round my mouth.”

In contrast with some scenes near the Bank of England, the camp had been serene throughout the day, until police moved in surrounding the camp in the evening. Since then, despite complete non-violence, the police have repeatedly attacked protesters. The camp has promised to stay in place for 24 hours.

April 2nd 2009, 1am: ‘Climate Camp in the City Ends, Broken by Police’

Originally posted on Indymedia UK.

“Street empty. They beat us out and squashed our tents. But oh what a world we created! Shame on the powers that be.”
– Climate Camp London

Climate Camp in the City has come to a end as police aggressively cleared protesters from Bishopsgate. Several hours earlier campers agreed to move to the North to shore up their defences, but after heavily provocative policing, people began to try and leave.

Many campers head home with light injuries after a long evening of intimidation and violence from the police. At several points they moved in to snatch individuals from the crowd and sent lines of officers into sitting campers, unprovoked. Rachel C. from Stirling said “the police acted aggressively, goading protesters, but we remained peaceful and the aim remains strong.” By 2am their aggressive tactics succeeded with most of the campers doing their best to escape the cordon. Soon after the camp was broken.

Campers claim a victory having held their ground peacefully for so long, serving food, drink, a variety of workshops to the campers, and above all, creating a positive space for change. We also pay homage to the inventor of the pop-up tent, for making today possible.

REFLECTIONS and INSIDER ACCOUNTS

David Cullen “Why I have a black eye” (Facebook post)

Harry Giles “Masked gang incites violence at peaceful protest” (Facebook post)

Molly Uzzell “Violent gang of masked thugs incite riot at otherwise peaceful demonstration

Ruth Cape “Climate Camp in the City: View from the Inside” (People & Planet website – article offline)

Sad to say that the demos were largely overshadowed in the media by reports of appalling policing and the subsequent death of Ian Tomlinson. But the real story of the day was mass resistance to the onward march of the catastrophic failure of capitalism. Let’s not forget that. And congrats to everyone for being a part of it.

K-R

This post was originally published on PANDA News.

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