Four Extinction Rebellion protesters have been arrested after chaining their necks to the front of a high street bank that is “funding the climate crisis”.
The activists took part in a nationwide day of action against Barclays Bank – which is one of the largest investors in fossil fuels in the world.
Customers at the Brighton’s North Street branch stepped over the protesters to get in and do the banking. A man complained that he had to use the side entrance.
Speaking to The Argus on the front steps of Barclays in North Street, Brighton, protesters called for an end to the bank’s fossil fuel investments to avoid a “climate catastrophe”.
Nicola Harries, 67, a retired Brighton barrister, said: “We don’t want to get any more oil out of the ground. We are outside of Barclays today in symbolic action because Barclays is chained to the fossil fuel industry.
“Until it is resolved, it will not help us or our grandchildren to have a future worth living. Stop funding the oil and gas companies. Start reducing your support for these companies.
“One of the main concerns is that they have invested billions of pounds in the oil, gas and coal industries since the Paris Agreement in 2015.
“They are not on track to ensure we stay within the 1.5 degree warming of the world to avoid a climate catastrophe.
“The reason we’re here is because Barclays needs to stop helping find new oil and gas.”
Sussex Police found keys in the protesters’ pockets and unlocked the chains wrapped around their necks, feet and bench railings.
They were arrested shortly after 4 p.m. today on suspicion of aggravated trespassing.
David Gibson, Green Councilor for Hanover and Elm Grove, stood in front of the bench and watched. He was not part of the protest.
Cllr Gibson said: “I support this protest against Barclays who are the biggest financiers to the fuel industry in this country.
“We need people like these peaceful protesters to stand up and pressure Barclays to invest in renewable energy instead of fuels that will destroy the planet.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Police attended a protest outside a shop on North Street in Brighton at around 1.15pm on Monday 14 November.
“Officials have been dealing with those in attendance and the business to allow for a peaceful protest and to minimize disruption to the public.
“Four people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespassing and taken into custody.”
Barclays said it does not comment directly on the protests but has outlined its position on climate change.
The bank said it was one of the first banks to set a target of becoming net zero by 2050 and that it was committed to aligning all of its funding activities with the Paris Agreement targets and timetables.
A spokeswoman said: “We are committed to doing our part to address the urgent and complex challenge of climate change.
“We have a three-pronged strategy to make this goal a reality: achieve net-zero operations, reduce our funded emissions, and fund the transition.
“In practice, this means that we have set targets for 2030 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 Electricity.
“We have also provided over £80bn in green finance and we are investing our own capital – £175m – in innovative green start-ups.”
Research by Market Forces, a campaign group against fossil fuel investments, found that Barclays had funded £4.1 billion for new fossil fuel projects from January 2021 until the COP26 climate talks in October of the same year.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23124378.chained-xr-protesters-arrested-brighton-barclays/?ref=rss Chained XR protesters arrested in Brighton Barclays