OTTAWA — Anarchists who claimed to have firebombed a bank in Ottawa are vowing to take their protest to the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Ontario.
Ottawa police are investigating a fire at a Royal Bank branch in the Glebe section of the downtown early Tuesday morning.
Witnesses have said three to four males were seen running from the scene and leaving the area in an SUV shortly before the fire was reported at 3:30 a.m.
In a statement issued hour after the fire, the anarchists said they targeted a Royal branch because the bank was a sponsor of the Vancouver Olympics which was held “on stolen indigenous land.”
They also said the bank was a major financier of Alberta’s tar sands, “one of the largest industrial projects in human history and perhaps the most destructive.”
The statement was posted on the website ottawa.indymedia.org, along with a video showing what the group claimed to be the attack on the bank.
In the video, shot from across the street, two people are seen running out of the bank as fire explodes inside the building shattering the windows.
Police said the fire caused about $300,000 in damage,
Possible attacks against corporate sponsors of the Vancouver Olympics were a big concern for security officials prior to the Games.
An intelligence report released early last year revealed that Royal Bank, a key Games sponsor, had been named specifically in anarchist and anti-Olympic Internet postings.
The report was prepared by the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, which includes representatives of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and several other security and police agencies
It said that between September 2007 and May 2009, anarchists claimed responsibility for four attacks in which large rocks were thrown through the windows of Vancouver Royal Bank branches.
“The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues. An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada,” said the group that claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
It also said that they it will be in Huntsville, Ont., and Toronto during the summits in June, where “leaders and bankers are meeting ...to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment.”
The Royal Bank issued a statement early Wednesday that said they are working with police to ensure those responsible are caught.
“We are not going to comment on the group that has claimed responsibility or respond to the inflammatory statements of those who use violence to communicate their views.”
“Our focus is on keeping our employees, our clients and our branches safe and secure.”