Welsh Green Dragon


Climate Change Protesters Clean Up Banks by Chris Halpin
October 31, 2009, 10:18 am
Filed under: Climate Change, Energy, Protest | Tags: , , ,

To mark October 24’s international day of climate action, Climate change activists caused somewhat of a stir in Cardiff City centre. Protesting primarily against the Ffos-y-fran open cast coal mine at Merthyr Tydfil, around twenty activists from Climate Camp Cymru concentrated on banks and businesses which they believed were to be involved in ‘dirty’ unethical investment.

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Armed with mops and feather dusters, participants took a mystery tour around the city entering banks and high street shops along the way. Guided by a mega phone shouting slogans such as ‘Clean Coal: Dirty Joke’ and ‘Can we have our money back please’, in reference to the tax payer having to bail out the banks, the protesters certainly made themselves noticed by the many Saturday afternoon shoppers on Queen Street.

Alongside noise, chalk seemed to be their main weapon of choice, with the pavements and stone facades of the banks being scrawled with anti capitalist messages. They also caused disruption at cash points by sealing them off with out-of-order notices and specially made police tape which read, ‘Climate Crime Scene’.

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Alyson Austin, who is from RAFF (Residents against Ffos-y-fran) and lives a few hundred metres away from the mine in Merthyr Tydfil, says its a disgrace that businesses are investing in unsustainable and polluting fossil fuels, instead of renewable energy sources such as wind or tidal power. She also believes that more people should be made aware where large companies and corporations make their investments. On the face of it, many companies boast sustainable and ethical investing credentials, only to cover up dubious investment strategies under alias company names or within their pension schemes. This means that unwittingly hundreds of thousands of employees could be indirectly funding things that go against their personal opinions and morals. She also feels very frustrated that the people of Merthyr are not being taken seriously.

After an hour or two amongst the shoppers, the campaigners marched towards the bay to visit the Senedd for the culmination of the days efforts. Albeit a little bedraggled after being buffeted by strong gusts of wind, morale was still high and the protesters were able to give it one last push when revealing their 30 metre long banners in front of the Welsh Assembly. Although not as busy as in town, even despite the fact that the World Rally Championship has descended on the bay for the weekend, this was when the protest was at its most impressive.

Did they sucessfully get their message across? I think the answer is yes, although not a marauding throng of hundreds of people, the Climate Camp Cymru protesters certainly sounded like it and with more action planned in the run up to the Copenhagen summit in December, I reckon they will certainly be keeping up the momentum.

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