Attack on banker’s home sparks G20 security fears

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : An attack on the home of a former banker who presided over the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland has sparked fears of protests turning violent during the coming summit of the Group of 20 (G20) world leaders.

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Hours after the Wednesday’s early morning attack on the Edinburgh home of former RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, an anonymous group emailed newspapers claiming responsibility and warning of more such action.

“We are angry that people like him are paying themselves a huge amount of money and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute and homeless.

“This is a crime. Bank bosses should be jailed. This is just the beginning,” the email said after the attackers smashed windows of Goodwin’s house and a luxury S600 Mercedes car.

No one was in the house at the time of the attack but Goodwin was said to be “shaken”.

Goodwin has been the target of public fury in Britain after he refused to hand back a 700,000 pound pension that he had negotiated last year while his bank was failing.

British taxpayers had to finance a 20 billion pound bailout of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Prime Minister Gordon Brown himself led public criticism of Goodwin.

World leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama, are due to begin arriving next week for the April 2 summit to be held in London.

An additional 2,500 police have been drafted in at a cost of 7.5 million pounds as the British capital gears up for major anti-capitalist protests by an alliance called the G20 Meltdown and by a climate change group.

Although protest leaders have promised peaceful action, police plan to throw a “ring of steel” around ExCeL centre where the summit is to be held, according to reports.

The G20 Meltdown campaign, a loose alliance of anti-capitalist organisations, will set off from four locations in London April 1 and converge on the Bank of England, each marching behind one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”.

The campaign’s website says: “At 12 noon, April 1st, we’re going to reclaim the City, thrusting into the very belly of the beast: the Bank of England.

“Early a.m. April 2nd, we’re going to bang on their hotel doors, @ the Excel Centre, Canning town to deliver our message of a world beyond capitalism.”