Twelve climate activists arrested

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A day of mass action by climate protesters led to 12 arrests and caused disruption in Scotland's capital today.

An estimated 500 activists set up a Camp for Climate Action behind the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) headquarters in Edinburgh five days ago to protest against its funding of fossil fuel companies which they say are destroying the planet.

RBS had advised many of its staff to work from home today. The bank is almost wholly owned by the Government, which has an 84 per cent stake.

Today's action saw activists bring 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 to the carriageways on the Edinburgh city bypass - the A720 at Bankhead - and the westbound A8.

Their actions were criticised by police and politicians.

Margaret Smith, Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh West, accused protesters of "recklessly endangering people's lives".

She said: "This is absolutely unacceptable and the police are right to take action to protect innocent people going about their daily lives."

Fellow Lib Dem, Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart, said: "The irresponsible behaviour seen on public roads could have caused serious injury or worse, and all reasonable people will join me in condemning these actions."

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 a series of locations across the city.

A Climate Camp spokesman said demonstrators twice shut down the RBS branch on Nicolson Street by chaining themselves to the building and also supergluing 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 outside of the building with fire extinguishers.

A Climate Camp spokesman said they targeted the energy company because it used public money from RBS to start drilling for oil off the coast of Greenland last month.

Forth Energy was also targeted, with five activists claiming to have chained themselves to office furniture at the firm's Leith office while two scaled the roof of the building and unfurled banners.

The activists said they oppose Forth Energy because of their plans to build four biomass - wood-burning - energy power stations in Scotland.

Seven protesters superglued themselves to the RBS executive car park near the Gyle Shopping Centre. A Clydesdale Bank branch in Lothian Road was also spraypainted by activists.

Yesterday more than 100 demonstrators dressed in white biohazard suits breached police lines at RBS's Gogarburn HQ.

Considerable damage was said to have been done to the building, with several windows smashed. On Friday, a woman was arrested after entering the office and gluing herself to a desk.

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."

Forth Energy managing director Calum Wilson said: "Forth Energy has consulted widely on the development of the biomass renewable energy plants and we welcome feedback and comment as part of this process.

"This morning's protesters presented us with leaflets which inaccurately portray our plans and we will deal with these points in further detail on our website."