from Bristol Protest
Lloyds in Bristol was closed on for an hour on 16 January in protest
about how a bailed-out bank acted unethically against a respected charity.
See the Press Release giving full details.
We plan to do something similar in Lewisham at 1200 on Saturday 31
January. See the pictures below for the
kind of thing that was done in Bristol.
Please bring any additional dolls you can.
Friday 16th January 2009
Bank forced to close
in Bristol today
There were scenes of
chaos on Corn Street today as police and security guards failed to hold back a surge
of chanting protesters reaching the doors of Lloyds-TSB Bank. The Bank
hurriedly closed its doors and remained shut for the rest of the afternoon.
crowd of over sixty Gaza campaigners assembled on Corn Street at 2pm this
afternoon and sent a message into the Bank to ask to see the manager. They
wanted to discuss the “Early Day Motion” which is being circulated in
Parliament accusing Lloyds Bank of blocking charity money reaching Gaza (see
end of press release).
no reply was received they laid out boxes of dolls wrapped in blood-stained
shrouds on the steps of the Bank. These represented the extra deaths which will
have occurred in Gaza due to Lloyds-TSB action.
leafleted, held banners & placards, and shouted slogans through a
LLOYDS SHAME ON YOU
ARE ALL PALESTINIANS
guards stood at the entrance of the bank and the police were called. As the
crowd grew larger and more vociferous they retreated inside the entrance and pulled
the doors closed – to cheers and chanting from the crowd.
TSB recently ordered the Islamic Bank of Britain which it owns, to close the
accounts of Interpal, a highly respected international humanitarian relief
charity – working in Occupied Palestine
is a respected UK charity which helps alleviate the agony of Gaza. It has
been thoroughly investigated by the Charities Commission (following malicious
complaints by US Government) and had been given the all clear!
doing so, Lloyds TSB is on the verge of ending humanitarian aid for up to five
million Palestinian refugees in desperate need. It will only serve to escalate
the horrific suffering of innocent people.
first Lloyds TSB denied any hand in the affair however it has now transpired
that Lloyds TSB (acting as a clearing bank) to Islamic Bank of Britain (with
whom Interpal bank), wrote to the IBB on 8th October 2008 stating: “We are writing to you to give you notice
that…we do not wish you to transfer, receive, process or in any way deal with
any funds, or in any way whatsoever (acting either as banker or agent on behalf
of the Customer) be involved with any type of banking arrangements for
for a Goliath like Lloyds TSB, which has itself recently received billions of
pounds in bailout funds from the British taxpayer, this is indeed
uncharacteristic behaviour. Why would the bank take such a callous action?
Remarkably no official reason has been given.
Muslim community in Bristol were also supporting this event.
Assad Ali Shah, Imam of St Marks Road Mosque said “The people of Gaza are suffering now - women, children, and the
elderly. They have shortages of food, medicine, and all the basic necessities
of life. The people of the world, for humanitarian reasons, are reaching out to
help them. How can it be, that charities working on the ground like Interpal,
have their work obstructed by Lloyds-TSB closing their accounts. This is a
moral crime. This extra suffering far the people in Gaza will be on the shoulders
of those who made these callous decisions.”
Benfield of the RESPECT Party said “We
contacted the union beforehand to send a message to the staff we had no
argument with them. Our protest is aimed at the bosses of Lloyds-TSB Bank who
are cow-towing to American pressure to cut off donations to Gaza at a time that
it’s so desperately needed.”
Clarke of Bristol Stop-The-War-Coalition, says “Interpal is amongst only a handful of charities able and daring to work
in such a politically sensitive area. By denying them banking facilities,
Lloyds TSB have played a part in preventing humanitarian aid reaching people
who are in the grip of a catastrophe through no other fault than being born
Hanley, of Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign says “As most are aware, the beleaguered Palestinians have been the victims
of sixty years of human rights violations at the hands of the Israeli
Government - condemned by 69 United Nations resolutions and almost every
country in the world. This suffering has been described by former US President
Jimmy Carter as “one of the greatest human rights crimes on earth” and the
great Nelson Mandela as “apartheid”.
Ed Hill, local film-maker “At a time like this, when people across the
country want to help, and many of them are busy raising money. Anything that
gets in the way of the money getting through to where it is desperately needed,
is an outrage”
Campaigners are planning
more protests in Bristol. On Saturday they will be organising information stalls
and boycott actions against Israeli products in Broadmead shopping centre.
Early Day Motion
LLOYDS TSB PLC AND BRITISH CHARITIES
That this House notes the excellent work of the British
charity Interpal in helping the Palestinians with £40 million worth of
humanitarian aid development since 1994; acknowledges that Lloyds TSB Group Plc
has served notice to the Islamic Bank of Britain to discontinue its services to
Interpal or subsequently to face closure itself without offering any reason;
further notes the wide distress that this has the potential to cause, in both
the local Muslim community and the wider Arab world, since both hold the
charity in particularly high regard; further notes that Interpal has withstood
three previous investigations by the Charity Commission; and calls upon the
Government to note the precedent this will lay down regarding any other
charities Lloyds may choose to target and to ensure that this bank which is in
receipt of enormous state benefit be pressurised to behave in a socially responsible manner.
Hi-Res pictures available
Cliff Hanley, chair of
Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign 963-4180/0790-450-3264
Jeremy Clarke, for Bristol
Stop The War Coalition 0117 9423435
Jo Benefield, Bristol
RESPECT party 0117-944-1481
Ed Hill, Palestine
Imam Assad Ali Shah, Imam of
St Marks Road Mosque Tel 07737285165