Four Extinction Rebellion activists arrested after Birmingham city xentre protest outside Barclays bank

The protest was held to create awareness of the bank’s investment in fossil fuels
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Four people were arrested in Birmingham after more than a dozen climate activists staged a protest in the city centre.

Around 12 to 15 Extinction Rebellion Birmingham activists took part in the protest against Barclays bank on the High Street bank today (November 14).

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Fake oil was thrown at the entrance of of the branch while others held banners and talked to the public. The demonstration began at 8am with activists spray painting the glass walls. Others were filmed holding banners and speaking with the public about Barclays’ investment in fossil fuels.

Soon, the police showed up and four people were arrested, Kate Gilbert, spokesperson of Extinction Rebellion Birmingham, told BirminghamWorld. She said the protest was held to create awareness of the bank’s investment in fossil fuels.

“Although the International Energy Agency (IEA) says ‘there is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply’, last year Barclays invested nearly £20 billion in fossil fuels. Since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 their total investment in fossil fuels has been over £140 billion,” the climate change activist group said.

“XR Birmingham are carrying out this dramatic symbolic act because we want Barclays, their staff and the people of Birmingham to think about the damage Barclays are doing and what they should do to stop the harm,” the group said in a press release.

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At 10am, the group started a Twitter campaign bringing the message for Barclays to social media.

West Midlands Police have been contacted for their comment.

Protest outside Barclays bank in Birmingham City Centre (Photo by Extinction Rebellion)Protest outside Barclays bank in Birmingham City Centre (Photo by Extinction Rebellion)
Protest outside Barclays bank in Birmingham City Centre (Photo by Extinction Rebellion)

What the climate change activists said

“I’m acting today because the world is running out of time to prevent global warming from tipping over 1.5 degrees. Fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, are the industries of the past, and Barclays needs to switch its investment from these old polluting industries to new sources of renewable energy that will generate thousands of new jobs for the people of Birmingham and the Midlands,” said a protester Matthew, 41, of Selly Park, in a press release.

Louise, 51, of Balsall Heath said: “I have two children and two grandchildren and I’m afraid for their futures, especially my grandchildren. By continuing to support fossil fuel industries, Barclays Bank are destroying the planet, the only home we have.”

What Barclays said

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“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,” a Barclays spokesperson told BirminghamWorld.

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