Leave it in the ground! Manchester students take action on RBS's and E.On's climate crimes

27 Oct 2008

Over 50 students from Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University staged a flash mob demonstration at the RBS and E.On recruitments stalls on Thursday 23 October 2008. The group were protesting against RBS's funding of climate chaos and against E.On's plans to build a new coal power station at Kingsnorth.

Toby from University of Manchester People & Planet reports:

2008 Manchester students flashmob RBS and E.On graduate recruitment stall
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Leave it in the ground - Manchester Students send RBS a potent message

At precisely 1pm, loose coal was dumped on the Royal Bank of Scotland and E.On recruitment stalls. Meanwhile, around 50 demonstrators stripped off their jackets to reveal bright yellow t-shirts with the words, ‘LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND’ emblazoned across their chests.

A list of RBS’s environmental crimes were then read out, including its involvement in a $70 billion loan to E.On in 2007, to prospective employees attending the recruitment fair at Manchester Central (GMEX) convention centre.

Some of the group were then forcibly ejected by security guards whilst others moved on to pay a visit to the E.On recruitment stall. E.On were questioned as to how their plans for a new coal fired power station squared with our commitment to reduce CO₂ levels.

2008 Manchester students dump coal on E.On and RBS's stall
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Manchester students return E.On and RBS’s coal

Toby Brett, 19, physics student at the University of Manchester, said:

RBS, formerly priding itself on being ‘the oil and gas bank’, vastly outstrips all other UK banks in terms of funding climate change. In fact RBS investments emit more carbon dioxide per year than the whole of Scotland.

Whilst I commend them for investing in renewable forms of energy as well as fossil fuels the two simply do not cancel out. We are calling for an immediate halt to highly destructive investment such as in tar sands extraction and a swift switch to renewables. Quite frankly the world cannot wait.

Marina Gerner, 20, Politics, Philosophy and Economics student and campaigns secretary at the University of Manchester’s Students Union, said:

Coal is the dirtiest, most emissions intensive of fossil fuels and it is outrageous to see how our banks invest in it.

2008 Manchester students flashmob RBS and E.On graduate recruitment stall
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Manchester students flashmob RBS’s and E.On’s stalls

This action is part of a series of actions by People & Planet students against RBS and E.On. It was organised collectively by both Manchester University P&P and Manchester Metropolitan P&P and formed part of Climate Action Week at the University of Manchester Students’ Union. More pictures of the action are available on Indymedia.

To find out more about RBS’s financing of climate chaos, or to get involved, see People & Planet’s Ditch Dirty Development campaign.