Protesters converge on Capital over RBS actions
HUNDREDS of climate change campaigners are set to target Edinburgh with a wave of protests from tomorrow, with organisers leaving them to "make up their own minds" whether to cause trouble.
The Camp for Climate Action said protesters from across the UK would converge at four different points across the city before carrying out "direct action" on the Royal Bank of Scotland's branches and the offices of businesses such as Edinburgh-based oil firm Cairn Energy.
Campaigners will then set up "camp" at a yet to be disclosed location before mounting a "mass action" at RBS' Gogarburn headquarters on Monday.
Police have already warned local business to be vigilant about the six-day long protest, which is being targeted at RBS due to what campaigners claim is the state-owned bank's poor environmental record.
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Richard Bernard, a spokesman for the protest, said he could not rule out that some protesters would look to cause damage tomorrow.
He said: "Myself, I would not do that, but sometimes people do things with paint or super glue. It's a very broad network in the camp - it's up to everybody to make up their minds about what they do. There will be a lot of running around causing diversions. The aim is not to cause disruption, it's partly to give people (the protesters) some fun."
Campaigners say RBS invests more than any other UK bank in the so-called "dirty energy" sector, helping to bankroll oil exploration and controversial tar sands mining in Canada.
Friends of the Earth has now launched an "alternative people's charter" for the bank, calling on it to withdraw investment from companies and projects that damage the environment and ignore human rights. Mary Church, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "We call on RBS to stop funding climate-trashing fossil-fuel projects and prioritise lending to low-carbon companies, technologies and infrastructure, and communities."
A spokeswoman for RBS said: "We respect the right to peaceful protest, and are committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. However, clearly our first priority in this instance is to minimise any disruption to our staff, customers and the general public, and we will continue to liaise with the police and local council to this end."
The assistant chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police, Iain Livingstone, has already written to local business vowing that police will take "appropriate action" if there is any trouble.
A police spokesman said: "The force supports the right to lawful and peaceful protest, and our aim is to engage positively with protesters and communicate with them around their plans. However, we will not tolerate any criminal activity, and any offenders will be dealt with appropriately."
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West