Reclaiming the banks: Activists turn British banks into creches, classrooms and launderettes in protest over public service cuts




Activists stormed more than 40 banks across Britain in protest over executive bonuses and public service cuts – and turned them into a variety of ad hoc walk-in centres.

UK Uncut said demonstrators set up creches, laundries, school classrooms, libraries, homeless shelters, drama clubs, walk-in clinics, youth centres, job centres and leisure centres at branches of RBS, NatWest and Lloyds.

At 10am in Camden, north London, demonstrators invaded a NatWest and set up a creche where children played, practiced musical instruments while parents caught up.

Children play while parents catch up in bank converted to playcenter
Playcentre: In Camden, north London, demonstrators invaded a NatWest and set up a creche where children played, practiced musical instruments while parents caught up

Meanwhile in nearby Islington 50 activists set up a laundry in an RBS branch in reaction to alleged council moves to cut services to the elderly, including a much-needed laundry service.

They set up washing lines, clothes horses, buckets for handwashing and a team of window cleaners on the outside. The protest was attended by over 15 pensioners and local Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.

Banks were transformed into ‘hospitals’ in Liverpool and Redhill, a classroom in Cardiff, a leisure centre in Eastleigh, a job centre in Birmingham. Twenty people took tents and sleeping bags into NatWest in Brixton to create a homeless shelter.

UK Uncut activists turned the Islington branch of RBS into a laundrette at 11am in response to Islington Council's threatening stance to axe dozens of vital services in a £52 million budget reduction. London, UK, 26/02/2011

Aisha Atkins, 32, said: ‘There are alternatives to the cuts, for example, making the banks pay for a crisis they created or by stopping tax-dodging by big business and the super rich.

‘But the Government is making a political choice to reduce the deficit by making ordinary people pay with job losses and savaged services.

‘We are transforming the banks into schools, leisure centres, laundry services and homeless shelters to show that it’s our society that’s too big to fail, not a broken banking system.’

An RBS spokeswoman said: ‘We fully respect the right to peaceful protest. Minimising disruption to our customers is our priority.’

SOURCE: Mail Online




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