Twelve climate change protesters were arrested during a day of mass action in Edinburgh yesterday.
About 500 activists set up a so-called Camp for Climate Action behind the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) headquarters in the capital five days ago to protest against its funding of fossil fuel companies which they say are destroying the planet.
The bank – almost wholly owned by the UK Government – advised many staff to work from home yesterday.
Activists brought traffic to a halt after they created an “oil slick” on two of the main routes into the city.
Lothian and Borders Police said a substance similar to diesel or vegetable oil was poured on the A720 Edinburgh bypass at Bankhead, and the westbound A8.
Activists were criticised by police and politicians, who said a peaceful protest had taken a sinister turn. Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MSP Margaret Smith accused them of “recklessly endangering lives”.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and the police are right to take action to protect innocent people going about their daily lives,” she said.
A police spokesman said: “This is an extremely reckless and dangerous act which could put many members of the public at risk.”
Police arrested 12 people at locations across the city.
Five were charged after a protest at the capital headquarters of Forth Energy, the firm behind controversial plans to build a renewable energy plant in Dundee.
Ballater man Calvin Jones, who escaped arrest after he and another activist climbed on to the building’s roof and unfurled a banner criticising biomass plants, claimed the “peaceful” protest had been a success.
The 27-year-old and his fellow campaigners are unhappy about plans to build a wood-burning energy plant, which includes a 300ft chimney, at the Port of Dundee.
A Climate Camp spokes-man said demonstrators twice shut down the RBS branch on Edinburgh’s Nicolson Street by chaining themselves to the building and super-glueing themselves together to block the entrance.
A piggy bank daubed with the RBS logo was used to dispense molasses to create an “oil slick” outside the offices of Cairn Energy in the city centre.
Protesters also sprayed “oil” on the building with fire extinguishers.
Seven protesters superglued themselves to the RBS executive car park near the Gyle Shopping Centre.
A Clydesdale Bank branch in Lothian Road was also spray-painted by activists.
More than 100 demonstrators dressed in white biohazard suits broke through police lines at RBS’s head-quarters in Gogarburn.
Damage was said to have been done to the building, with several windows smashed.
But police said no one gained access to any of RBS’s premises at the site and there was no report of injuries.
Activist Daniel Balla said: “We feel compelled to take action against RBS as it is now 84%-owned by the UK taxpayer.
“People may be unaware that the institution using vast amounts of public money is investing in the most destructive carbon-emitting industries in the world.”