Students protesting over cuts stormed a branch of the RBS bank in Birmingham today, angry over news of bankers’ obscene bonuses.
The protest of up to 40 students from across the city were rallying against cuts to to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) when they decided to target the bailed-out bank.
Joined by local workers and supporters, they caused the branch to shut early for the day.
Birmingham student Nicolas O’Brien told Socialist Worker, “We were having a rally over cuts to EMA.
‘The speakers talked about how we’re told there’s no money for education and yet the banks the government bailed out are paying out huge bonuses.
“So at 4.30 we moved on to protest at RBS.”
The students marched down the street and into the bank, occupying it for around an hour before coming out and continuing to protest outside.
Fiona Marks, another student, explained why she agreed with targeting the bank. “They can give out all these big bonuses at banks—but they won’t give us EMA,” she said.
RBS, which has been state-owned since the bank bailouts three years ago, will pay out £1 billion in bonuses to top bankers this year—including £7 million in bonuses and other payments to fat cat boss Stephen Hester.
Protesting sixth form student Jack Attewell said, “They’ve taken billions of pounds of our money. It’s up to us to try to stop it.”
Nicolas agreed, saying, “So often we see things on the news that make us angry but we don’t do anything. I’m so pleased we’re here getting off our arses and doing something.”
The Right to Work campaign has called a protest at RBS headquarters in London for 4pm this Friday (14 January): 280 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4RB. www.righttowork.org.uk
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