Campaigners demand answers for closure of NGO’s accounts
A group of protestors were joined by local MP, Naz Shah, outside one of the city’s high street banks last weekend, voicing their concern at the closure of a non-governmental organisation’s (NGOs) account.
On Saturday 16th January, demonstrators staged a two-hour protest after the Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) group were informed that their accounts had been unilaterally closed by the Co-Operative group.
Following on from the closure of other charity and NGO accounts last year, Ms Shah labelled the Co-Op’s latest actions as ‘unethical and unfair’.
Ismail Patel, chair of FOA, added: “The protests show that people are very unhappy with the actions of the Co-Op bank.
“We hope to repeat similar protests up and down the country over the next couple of weeks to make a real positive impact, and compel the bank to engage in dialogue with us and others whose accounts have unjustly been closed.”
The group claim the bank has failed to present ‘substantiated reasons’ as to why their accounts have been closed and are calling for action to be taken.
Only realising the accounts had actually been closed when attempting to use them in mid-December, demonstrations have since been seen across the country.
A statement from the group added: “FOA is non-governmental organisation, it does not send funds abroad, it has never overdrawn on the account and it has been a customer of the Co-Op for many years now.
“The Co-Op has not only failed to communicate with FOA before the closure it now refuses to talk to the organisation and stands by its decision to close FOA’s account.
“Consequently a number of cities around the country have now come together to support FOA and a number of protests have taken place so far with more planned in the coming weeks.”
Protests have already taken place in Leicester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bradford in support of FOA and the 'Free Palestine' movement in the UK.
Upcoming demonstrations will take place in London (23rd January), and Manchester (29th January) with more information available via the NGO’s Facebook page.