Extinction Rebellion takes on Barclays branches across South London – South London News

Four people have been arrested following a spate of protests at Barclays bank branches in Wandsworth.

Protesters from the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion targeted three branches yesterday, chalk-spraying the windows of one of them

At around 8am the message “we fund fossil fuels” was chalk-sprayed in large pink letters across the window of the Barclays branch in St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction.

According to Extinction Rebellion, an hour later helped a protester in a hazmat suit, who was standing in front of the spray-painted window, was arrested.

Over at Barclays Putney, Wandsworth resident Caroline Hartnell shows her message (Picture: Extinction Rebellion)

Shortly afterwards three other people leafleting by the ATM were approached by the police and arrested.

An Extinction Rebellion member who witnessed the arrests, Steve Smith of Honeywell Road, Battersea, said: “It didn’t look like any of them were given the option of leaving.

“The only thing I saw any of the leafleters do was leaflet. As far I could see, nothing like chalk spray or super glue was found when they were searched.”

The protests form part of a national day of action called by Extinction Rebellion against Barclays Bank, with thousands of protesters gathering at Barclays banks across the UK.

Extinction Rebellion claims Barclays is Europe’s and the UK’s biggest investor in tar sands, fracked oil and gas, coal power and fossil fuels overall.

It also claims the bank has invested almost £150bn in fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which demands urgent and drastic reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions that arise from burning fossil fuels.

Protests also took place outside Wandsworth’s other two Barclays branches, in Tooting and Putney.

Dr Pat Squires outside the Tooting Barclays branch (Picture: Extinction Rebellion)

In Tooting, eight members of Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth gathered outside the bank with a large “End Fossil Fuels Now” banner.

“We are here to highlight Barclays Bank’s shocking record of fossil fuel funding,” said Dr Squires, from Pretoria Road in Streatham, who sat outside the bank in a peaceful “Rebellion of One” protest, wearing a placard saying: “I am terrified because Barclays is investing in the destruction of our beautiful planet.”

“The decisions that Barclays makes today will have a massive impact on the future of humanity,” said Caroline Osborne, from Marjorie Grove, Battersea. “If the government refuses to hold them to account then we, the public, will have to do it ourselves.”

A Met spokeswoman said: “At 8.20am on November 14, police were called to St John’s Hill, SW11 after reports that protesters had sprayed paint on to the outside of a bank.

“Officers attended. One man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

“Three women were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

“All four remain in custody.”

A Barclays spokeswoman said: “We are determined to play our part in addressing the urgent and complex challenge of climate change.

“In March 2020 we were one of the first banks to set an ambition to become net zero by 2050, across all of our direct and indirect emissions, and we committed to align all of our financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement .

“We have a three-part strategy to turn that ambition into action: achieving net zero operations, reducing our financed emissions, and financing the transition.

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

Pictured top: Barclays window chalk-spray message (Picture: Extinction Rebellion)

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