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RBS under pressure as oil funding scrutinised

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Hundreds of protesters across the country have demanded that the taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland stop using public money to extract tar sands.

Anti-poverty, human rights and environmental protesters hit out on the day of RBS's annual general meeting to highlight the negative impact of tar sands extraction on climate change and indigenous communities.

Simultaneous protests were organised by the World Development Movement and People and Planet in over 15 locations including London, Cardiff, Sheffield, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

Some protesters gathered outside the RBS Threadneedle Street branch in London with a tar sands digger to deliver the message: "Get our money out of blood oil now."

Between 2007 and 2009 RBS led the underwriting of billions of pounds in loans for tar sands mining in Canada.

Tar sands are the most carbon-intensive of all fossil fuels and when extracted they leave giant poisonous lakes containing sand, water, silt, clay, hydrocarbons and toxic chemicals.

Canadian indigenous activist and campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network Eriel Tchekwie Deranger said: "RBS is currently financing the largest and most destructive industrial project on the planet destroying my people, my community and my traditional lands."

Campaigners from WDM point out that RBS has been investing in fossil fuel and tar sands-related companies to the tune of £10 billion since the bailout in 2008.

WDM director Deborah Doane added: "Taxpayers' money has no business in funding projects like tar sands that cause immense harm to the indigenous communities that live near them, while exacerbating climate change."

RBS was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

Morning Star Online
Will Stone
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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