Extinction Rebellion protesters in Birmingham city centre spray paint Barclays

Extinction Rebellion are protesting in Birmingham city centre this morning (Monday, November 14)

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Climate activists Extinction Rebellion’s Birmingham group held a protest outside a High Street bank.

The activists spray painted the Barclays on Birmingham High Street today (Monday, November 14) and grabbed eyeballs of shoppers and those working in the area.

Extinction Rebellion groups struck simultaneously in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in protest at the bank’s funding of fossil fuel industries.

Eco-protesters said the bank was facing ‘the biggest ever day’ of climate protests as hundreds of people took action at more than 100 Barclays branches.

In Birmingham the group claimed that Barclays UK is “Europe’s biggest fossil fuel funder.” They said: “Cut ties with Fossil Fuels. Your social license is ended.”

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion covered the Barclays bank with black paint on High Street, Birmingham city centre.Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion covered the Barclays bank with black paint on High Street, Birmingham city centre.
Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion covered the Barclays bank with black paint on High Street, Birmingham city centre.

Another tweet said: “In 2021, Barclays was the biggest financier of both fracked oil and gas and coal power in Europe! Don’t bank with one of the arsonists of the climate crisis.”

The glass walls of Barclays on 79-84 High St, Birmingham opposite Primark were painted with black spray paint to say “Europe’s biggest fossil fuel funder.” The pavement outside was painted with chalk paint - which have all been washed now.

A Twitter account called XRGrandparentsAndElders said the bank was “the seventh biggest funder of fossil fuels worldwide. Barclays are also funding the proposed Rosebank Oil Field by providing stakeholders Equinor with $2.46 billion of backing since 2015.”

Extinction Rebellion was posting live footage of the protest on Facebook and two West Midlands police officers were filmed at the scene.

They are also holding a Tweetstorm - where people are urged to mass tweet at Barclays UK to hold what the climate activist group have called an “intervention.”

The protest takes place in the midst of COP 27 - which is taking place in Egypt. World leaders have gathered to address climate change together. In a previous statement, Extinction Rebellion made a comment about the climate change summit.

They said: “It would not be new for Extinction Rebellion to say that the COP process has failed. We’ve said it for some time, as have many others now, including Greta Thunberg.

“Extinction Rebellion will not attend COP27 in Egypt, nor protest against it. To give airtime to a summit that has monumentally failed humanity and all the living world for 26 years gives the COP process undeserved credence and carries on the charade.”

What did people in Birmingham say about the Extinction Rebellion protests?

In Birmingham, one onlooker Sam Caswell, 33, a shop worker, from West Bromwich, said: “Vandalising businesses is not a way to get people on side.

“You can’t argue against their cause but the way they are going about it just puts you off these people. It doesn’t sit right with me.”

But student Rhiannon Chapman, 24, of Ladywood, Birmingham, added: “Good on them, people need to stand up, listen and act. The paint will wash off.”

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion covered the Barclays bank with black paint on High Street, Birmingham city centreClimate activists from Extinction Rebellion covered the Barclays bank with black paint on High Street, Birmingham city centre
Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion covered the Barclays bank with black paint on High Street, Birmingham city centre

What did Barclays say?

A Barclays spokesperson 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. 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 £80bn of green financing and we are investing our own capital – £175m – into innovative, green start-ups.”

West Midlands Police have been contacted for comment.