Police arrest 12 activists in climate change protest

image captionClimate change protesters have been parading through Edinburgh

Climate change activists have been arrested after protests at the RBS headquarters in Edinburgh spread to different parts of the city.

Activists arrived at Gogarburn last Thursday, angry at RBS's investment in oil industry developments.

There have been pockets of protest throughout the capital. Twelve people have been arrested.

RBS said it had been one of the most active banks in the world in providing funding for renewable energy projects.

Bank branches at Nicolson Street and North Bridge, Hunter Square and the fly-over at the Gogar roundabout have been the focus of protests, including camp members gluing themselves to branch doors.

The arrests come as the police warned of a "robust" response after activists began their action last Thursday.

There was damage to the bank's Gogarburn headquarters on Sunday.

Several activists glued themselves to each other in the executive car park of the RBS Young building at the Gyle earlier on Monday.

In Leith, six climate change activists staged a protest at the offices of Forth Energy.

image captionPolice recovered a number of weapons from outside the RBS headquarters on Sunday

Lothian and Borders Police also said that protesters appeared to have spread an oil-like substance over roads on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

A spokeswoman said the oil, possibly diesel or vegetable oil, had been spilled onto the A720 at Bankhead and the westbound lane of the A8.

The roads have now been cleaned and traffic is moving as normal in the area.

Police described it as "an extremely reckless and dangerous act which could put many members of the public at risk".

However, climate activists later denied any knowledge of the incident and expressed "bewilderment" over the police claims.

Many staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland were encouraged to stay at home on Monday after two protesters were arrested on Sunday when activists smashed windows and threw an oil-like substance at the bank's Gogarburn building.

Speaking to Radio Scotland, Supt Lesley Clark of Lothian and Borders Police said the operation was now in its "reactive phase."

She warned that the rules of engagement had now changed.

'Respect our city'

She said: "What we were hoping to achieve is to continue to work with the protesters and allow them to protest.

image captionOfficers have been policing the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland

"However, the rules of engagement have now changed and we need to think about a more robust policing response, which we always did envisage maybe being the case and that was communicated early on.

"Work with us, respect our city and we will give you as much support as we can. However, you failed to do that yesterday and changed the rules."

The activists claim the bank, which is 84%-owned by the taxpayer, is financing developments which could be dangerous for the environment.

Natalie Swift, a spokeswoman for the protesters, commented: "Today we have seen people tackling RBS' responsibility for the billions of pounds it provides to environmentally destructive and dangerous fossil fuel projects.

"We are being failed by the government and financial institutions, and we are creating a vibrant social movement that takes direct action against the causes of climate change when politicians and bankers fail to do so."

RBS said it had a good record in funding renewable energy projects.

"While we understand the protesters' intent and publicity tactics, we clearly cannot agree with their decision to target RBS," said a spokesman.

More on this story

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.