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‘This Is An Intervention’ – Extinction Rebellion Protest Bank’s Investment in Fossil Fuels

Published on: 14 Nov, 2022
Updated on: 16 Nov, 2022

By Hugh Coakley and Martin Giles

Extinction Rebellion protesters glued themselves to Barclays Bank windows in North Street today (November 14, 2022) in protest at the bank’s continuing funding of fossil fuel projects.

Extinction Rebellion protestors glue themselves to the Barclays bank windows in North Street in protest at fossil fuel investments by the bank.

In part of a UK-wide campaign, three local campaigners walked into the Guildford branch of Barclays and glued themselves to the inside of the windows. The action aimed to protest against the bank’s investment in fossil fuels and to highlight to the general public and Barclays customers the damage the bank are doing to the climate and environment.

One of the glued protestors, Nicola, said: “Barclays continue to fund fossil fuels, they are not listening to their clients. We are raising awareness and asking people to move their money from Barclays.”

Protestor Danielle said she joined Extinction Rebellion after COP 26 which, she said, “was a disaster”. See the full interview with Danielle below…

Climate activist, Tom, also glued, said: “I don’t want my little boy to ask me in 20 years’ time what I did to stop this climate catastrophe. We are not here to inconvenience the customers but raise awareness. We will leave when the branch closes or we get removed.”

Bank staff in the branch did not comment on the protest but appeared to be relaxed about the 15 to 20 protestors inside and outside the shop. The bank remained open for business throughout. It was reported that bank staff had been advised to work from home if possible due to the planned protests.

Protestors outside Barclays Bank in North Street.

Passers-by stopped to take photographs but generally went about their business. One said “at least they aren’t closing roads”.

There were up to four police at the scene. The police spoke to the protestors but had taken no action up to around two hours after the protestors had arrived at the bank. There were reported arrests at other locations including in Birmingham, Kettering and Clapham.

At around 4pm, a spokesperson for Surrey Police said: “At 12.20pm today, police were made aware of an ongoing protest at Barclays Bank on North Street, Guildford.

“Officers are in attendance at the scene engaging with staff and those involved in the protest. At this time no criminal offences are believed to have been committed.”

Climate activist Tom said he was motivated by his five-year-old son to protest against “this climate catastrophe”.

A Guildford Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: “If the UK banking sector was a country, it would be the world’s 9th biggest polluter.

ShareAction, a pressure group who work to “harness the positive potential of our finance system”, said climate change was “driven by short-term investment decisions focused on maximising profit which fail to account for external risks and impacts. While the idea of responsible finance is growing fast, the world’s major investors are not yet driving change at the level needed”.

In February 2022, they estimated that HSBC put $8.7 billion (£6.4bn) into new oil and gas during 2021, while Barclays put in $4.5 billion, and Deutsche Bank loaned $5.7 billion. They said the fossil fuel giants receiving the funding included Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, and Saudi Aramco.

Extinction Rebellion poster outside Barclays Bank in Guildford.

A Barclays’ statement on the BBC said they had “set an ambition to become net zero by 2050”. They added: “We have a three-part strategy to turn that ambition into action: achieving net zero operations, reducing our financed emissions, and financing the transition.

“In practice, this means we have set 2030 targets to reduce our financed emissions in four of the highest emitting sectors in our financing portfolio, with additional 2025 targets for the two highest-emitting sectors – energy and power.

“We have also provided over £80 billion of green financing and we are investing our own capital – £175 million – into innovative, green start-ups.”

The Dragon has asked Barclays Bank for a comment on the protests.

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Responses to ‘This Is An Intervention’ – Extinction Rebellion Protest Bank’s Investment in Fossil Fuels

  1. M Durant Reply

    November 14, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    Customers should be able to go inside the bank without being hassled by the protesters, the people working inside of the bank have the right to work in a peaceful environment. The protesters inside of the bank who have been antisocial and disruptive should be removed by the police, receive a heavy fine and if they do it again sent to prison.

    I don’t have a problem with people protesting in the street in a reasonable manner but I do have a problem with protesters being antisocial and disrupting others inside of galleries, banks, or on main roads.

    Banks have been shutting down across the country, we are lucky to still have some banks in town.

    • Mark Stamp Reply

      November 16, 2022 at 2:25 pm

      I see nowhere in the report saying that staff or customers were being hassled or the protestors being anti-social.

  2. Martin Elliott Reply

    November 14, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Again you’ve failed to acknowledge the Guildford Dragon staff’s support for this organisation.

    So who was independently verifying who?

    Editor’s response: Hugh Coakley is no longer a member of Extinction Rebellion and I, as co-reporter and editor, never have been.

  3. Ross Connell Reply

    November 15, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Just leave the protesters there.

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    November 15, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    Hear, hear. No food, loo, water, shelter. And no unsticking their hands.

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