Some of the 4,000 demonstrators who clogged London's financial district ahead of today's G20 Summit, branding it "Financial Fool's Day," broke into the Royal Bank of Scotland's main London office. An Associated Press report includes photos and videos of the mayhem rated, however, as less than ensued at the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle.
Edinburgh-based RBS was a focus of protesters' fury, having reported the biggest loss in British history for 2008. After a bailout, it is now 70 percent owned by British taxpayers. Still, its former chief executive Fred Goodwin—aged just 50 — managed to walk off with an annual pension of 703,000 pounds ($1.2 million).
Some financial workers leaned out their office windows, taunting demonstrators, bearing placards such as "0% interest in others," and waving 10 pound notes at them.
The protests in London's financial district—known as "The City"—came as Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Barack Obama held a news conference elsewhere in the British capital.
Increased global regulation of the financial services industry is expected to be a major focus of the summit, with countries, such as France and Germany favoring more regulation than the U.S., among others. The G20 is an economic forum consisting of 19 of the world's largest national economies, plus the European Union.
"Every job I apply for, there's already 150 people who have also applied," said protester Nathan Dean, 35, who lost his information technology job three weeks ago. "I have had to sign on to the dole (welfare) for the first time in my life. You end up having to pay your mortgage on your credit card and you fall into debt twice over."