Four arrested at Barclays Birmingham during climate change protest

Barclays Bank on High Street in Ladywood, Birmingham. Credit: Extinction Rebellion

Four members of Extinction Rebellion have been arrested in Birmingham today (November 14), on suspicion of causing criminal damage at a Barclays branch.

The environmental group has targeted more than 100 Barclays branches across the UK today, to protest against the bank’s financing of fossil fuels.

In Birmingham, activists threw washable fake oil over the building and spray painted ‘Europe’s biggest fossil fuel funder’ on the facade of the building on the High Street in Ladywood.

In London, the group flyposted 45 branches with posters bearing the Barclays logo and reading ‘this is an intervention’ and ‘banking on climate chaos’. In Glasgow two people ‘cracked’ the windows of the branch in their new offices at Clyde Place Quay.

Extinction Rebellion says that Barclays is the UK’s and Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels and since 2021 the bank has invested $19.583bn in fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook, said: “It’s high time that Barclays recognised the destructive role they are playing as Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels and changed course.

“We want Barclays to stop funding nature destroying projects and more than that we want them to show leadership. We ask them to publicly denounce an economic system that is geared towards the destruction of the planet, we want them to admit in public what bankers tell us in private – that they aren’t changing fast enough because the current system incentivises harmful behaviour.”

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.”

In a statement, West Midlands Police said: “We will always respect people’s right to lawfully protest, but lawful protest does not stretch to committing criminal offences. We cannot standby and allow people to cause criminal damage to a building that is likely to result in disruption and repair bills.

“We will always facilitate lawful protests and try to work with protest organisers so they can take a stand in a peaceful, organised manner. Anyone who oversteps the mark and commits criminal offences can expect to be arrested and potentially put before the courts”.