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Protests at Royal Bank of Scotland AGM

Don't Bank on the Bomb Scotland is a network of organisations involved in the Scottish Peace Movement who campaign on the links between banks and other financial institutions in support of the production and development of nuclear weapons. Scottish CND is a member organisation of Don't Bank on the Bomb Scotland Network.

Campaigners from the Don't Bank on the Bomb Scotland network will call on the Royal Bank of Scotland Group's shareholders to divest from nuclear weapons in a protest outside the company's Annual General Meeting at RBS Headquarters at Gogarburn House on Glasgow Road in Edinburgh from 1:00pm until 2:00pm on Thursday 25th April 2019.

According to figures published in 2018, RBS Group provided £2.6 billion to 15 of the world's top 20 nuclear weapon producers between 2014 and 2017. "If you bank with one of RBS Group's subsidiaries, such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest or Ulster Bank, there is good chance that your money is helping to fund nuclear weapons" said Dr Guy Johnson of divestment campaigning network Don't Bank on the Bomb Scotland. "RBS has made more money available to nuclear weapons producers than any other Scottish financial institution in the last four years", he continued, "and these investments are helping to fuel a dangerous new nuclear arms race."

RBS Group's investment policy allows investment in nuclear weapons companies as long as they based in NATO states and work on the nuclear weapons programmes of the UK, the US or France. "RBS Group claims that its policy is ethical", Dr Johnson said, "but the UK, US and French nuclear weapons are no less indiscriminate or dangerous than those of other countries."

The protest will take place on the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, an accident at a nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine which send a cloud of radioactive smoke and dust across Europe. Thirty people were killed at the disaster site and an area around the site covering more than 4,000 sq km had to be abandoned due to radioactive contamination.

"The Chernobyl disaster showed how catastrophic radioactivity is for human health and for the environment", Dr Johnson. "Any use of nuclear weapons would have an even more devastating effect. If fired, the Trident missiles carried on one of Britain's nuclear submarines could kill millions. Moreover, a 'limited' nuclear war, using just 100 of the world's 14,500 nuclear warheads, would cause a sharp drop in global temperatures and precipitate a global famine." 

The action at the RBS Group AGM will involved campaigners from Scottish CND, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and MEDACT and is part of a global nuclear weapons divestment movement that has gained momentum since the signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017. The treaty will come in force when it has been ratified by 50 countries and will prohibit the production, testing, possession and use of nuclear weapons. It also prohibits assistance with these activities, a provision which includes financing. 

"The treaty makes it clear that profiting from nuclear weapons of mass destruction is not acceptable and more than 30 financial institutions have divestment since the treaty was signed", Dr Johnson said. "When the treaty enters into force, financial institutions that continue to invest in nuclear weapons will suffer serious reputational damage. RBS Group should adopt a truly ethical policy and exclude all nuclear weapons producers, regardless of where they are based, for the sake of its business and for the future of humanity."