2ND ROUNDUP: Protestors attack banks at anti-G20 demonstrations

Protestors attack banks at anti-G20 demonstrationsLondon  - Violent anti-globalization protests Wednesday overshadowed the Group of 20 (G20) summit in London as campaigners vandalized banks and clashed with heavily-armed riot police.

Some 4,000 protestors, shouting "hang a banker" and "storm the banks" converged on the Bank of England and later vandalized the London headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Police said a total of 24 protestors were arrested and several officers were injured in the clashes. However, only a minority of the demonstrators were involved in the confrontation with police, reporters said.

A handful of protestors, their faces covered by bandanas, managed to enter the RBS building and gain access to the roof. However, the building was empty as RBS workers had been advised to stay at home because of the protests.

RBS, which reported record losses of 28 billion pounds (40 billion dollars) last year, has been at the centre of public anger during the banking crisis.

Protestors cheered as an office chair was used to smash the large blacked-out windows of the RBS building.

The private home of its former chief executive, Fred Goodwin, was attacked by vandals in Edinburgh, Scotland, last week.

Demonstrators, representing a diverse mix of anti-war campaigners, anti-poverty groups, anarchists and climate change protestors, were penned in for hours as riot police and mounted officers were deployed.

Some accused the police of "going over the top" in their efforts to control the crowd of demonstrators, many of whom were "ordinary citizens" angered by the impact the crisis has had on their lives.

Protestors held up banners proclaiming "Balls to the Banks" and "Punish the looters" while carrying effigies of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Meanwhile, bankers leaning out of office windows taunted demonstrators down below by waving 10-pound notes at them, provoking a response of shouts and cheers.

Many bankers and office workers heeded security advice to "dress down" in sweaters and jeans, rather than the more customary suits and ties, to avoid being targeted.

"I am here to make sure that peace happens rather than war," said Mirthful Merryweather, a nurse among the protestors.

Christine Hickey, 64, said: "I'm just fed up with the bankers who've got away with taking all this money. People are losing jobs and their homes, and I'm fed up with it." (dpa)