Faced with determined opposition, the Royal Bank of Scotland has retreated from its attempt to damage a group campaigning for Palestinian human rights, Friends of Al Aqsa, by withdrawing banking facilities at short notice. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign joined together with the Muslim Association of Britain (Scotland) to call for a programme of demonstrations at the RBS Scottish Headquarters in Edinburgh, starting tomorrow at 2.00pm. We planned to escalate these protests across Scotland in the coming weeks.
The Royal Bank of Scotland move came on the heels of the Alliance & Leicester successfully closing down the acounts of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in England and Wales. They initially refused any negotiations or explanation of their actions until they were faced with the threat of street demonstrations.
Scottish PSC received the following mail from Friends of Al Aqsa:
"Many many thanks for all the support we received from you and the PSC. We were overwhelmed with the amount of support we received and the solid unity portrayed was no doubt the main reason RBS reversed its decision - they were inundated with complaints! Also, the threat of the rally helped immensely. Thanks once again and we look forward to working with you again soon."
Al Aqsa's press release said
" The Royal Bank of Scotland has apologised and withdrawn its demand to close the bank accounts of Friends of Al-Aqsa and its chairman. We are grateful to each and every supporter who rallied around us immediately without questions or doubt in the face of such blatant discrimination and harassment. Ismail Patel extends his warmest gratitude to all and in particular to the Muslim Association of Britain, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, MCB and Stop the War Coalition....
"The vulnerability of those seeking to bring justice in Palestine has been highlighted by this incident and it is important for us to collectively assist each other and put pressure on any institute/organisation attempting to silence us by intimidation or harassment. The greatest lesson from this episode is that the efforts of a united front cannot be ignored, even if that of an individual or single organisation can be. We thank you all and look forward to your continuous support in the future.
This victory is for us all!"
Friends of Al Aqsa has called off their demonstrations in England and asked MAB and SPSC to call off the demonstration scheduled for tomorrow.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
6th January 2005