Protestors and dancers from Red Rebels gathered outside Cambridge’s banks this afternoon (01/04)Extinction Rebellion Cambridge

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) have staged their first major protest of 2021 today (01/04), which targets the banks Barclays and HSBC in order to draw attention to their investments in fossil fuel industries.

A press release from XR Cambridge details the events in Cambridge, with protestors gathering outside Cambridge’s central banks on St Andrews Street.

A Facebook live stream by the group shows some protestors, who are wearing masks, standing in the middle of the road and blocking incoming traffic, with others sat on the pavement with signs and flags.

Several people can be seen holding banners with slogans such as “fossil fuels are burning are planet”, “stop funding ecocide” and “Barclays wants you dead.” The live stream also shows the Red Rebels, an international performance activist group, dancing to music.

One anonymous activist said: “I’m taking part in Money Rebellion today because our financial institutions can’t go on bankrolling climate destruction by providing continued funding for fossil fuels.”

They added: “Without a dramatic and urgent shift, finance is going to drive many species - maybe even humans too - to extinction, and make vast areas of the planet uninhabitable within our lifetimes. This is all in the pursuit of profit. If banks won’t listen to the science, we’ll keep on taking action until they do the right thing.”

The protest is part of the global “Money Rebellion,” a global campaign that aims to draw attention to the $3.8 trillion that Barclays and HSBC have invested in fossil fuels since 2015, as Extinction Rebellion renews calls for UK banks to reconsider their investments.

Extinction Rebellion states that: “Barclays and HSBC invest billions in polluting industries which fuel the climate and ecological emergency we desperately need to address.” Barclays are also said to be “the biggest funders of fossil fuels in Europe.”

The “Money Rebellion” protests are taking place around the UK, including in London, where the Bank of England was sprayed with fake oil by two XR activists, alongside activists in the area who have been pictured with a banner reading “No More Fossil Fools”, linking the protests to April Fool’s Day.

City of London Police have since made one arrest linked to “criminal trespass” and three for “criminal damage.”

XR are thought to be targeting banks and financial services companies who they say are part of an “economic system” which is “killing us”, according to a promotional video made by the group.

The climate group filmed Gail Bradbrook, one of its founders, breaking a window outside Barclays Bank in Stroud on Tuesday morning, marking the beginning of the protest.


Mountain View

XR banners in Cambridge call for support for climate bill

The vandalism of the Bank of England, according to XR, was intended to highlight its “failure to regulate [...] banks” and its “investments consistent with 3.5C of warming by the end of the century”. The Bank of England was given a mandate by the government in March last year to take net zero emissions and environmental sustainability into account in its actions, but they have not yet laid out plans on how they will do so.

Elsewhere, protests are also taking place in Cornwall, outside Barclays’ bank in Falmouth.

This is the second series of actions undertaken by XR Cambridge in the past week, with protestors displaying banners around Cambridge on Friday (26/03) calling for residents and MPs’ support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) bill. The bill will require Prime Minister Boris Johnson to work to create and successfully implement a strategy to achieve climate and ecology objective.

The second reading of the bill, which was presented by Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas, was put on hold indefinitely.

XR Cambridge’s actions on Friday were part of a series of banners displayed across the country related to the bill, with messages on the banners including “support the CEE bill now.”