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7 arrested in climate protest at Barclays headquarters in London

7 arrested in climate protest at Barclays headquarters in London
© Getty Images

London police on Wednesday arrested seven people following a climate change protest outside the headquarters of multinational investment bank Barclays after demonstrators broke windows of the building. 

Video captured by Reuters showed members of the environmental advocacy group Extinction Rebellion using hammers to break some of the bank’s windows and paste signs reading, “In Case of Climate Emergency Break Glass.” 

The group has accused Barclays of “continued investments in activities that are directly contributing to the climate and ecological emergency.” 

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Extinction Rebellion said that Wednesday’s actions were part of its “Money Rebellion” against capitalism, using “nonviolent direct action, causing damage to property to prevent and draw attention to greater damage,” according to Reuters

Footage showed the protesters sitting outside the Barclays building before police arrived and began handcuffing demonstrators. 

A Barclays spokesman said in a statement Wednesday that while “Extinction Rebellion are entitled to their view on capitalism and climate change,” Barclays asks “that in expressing that view they stop short of behaviour which involves criminal damage to our facilities and puts people’s safety at risk.” 

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“We have made a commitment to align our entire financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement, with specific targets and transparent reporting, on the way to achieving our ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050, and help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy,” the spokesman added, according to Reuters. 

The damage to the bank Wednesday follows an incident last week in which climate change activists splashed black dye on the Bank of England’s London headquarters. 

Extinction Rebellion is also one of several organizations that have gathered in recent weeks for protests in opposition to a new bill that would give British police greater authority in responding to demonstrations. 

Last weekend, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in cities such as Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Brighton in opposition to the bill, which they say will help authorities quell dissent and limit free speech. 

Some of the “kill the bill” demonstrations late last month erupted in violence, leading to multiple arrests. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the time slammed what he called “disgraceful” attacks against police during the protests, with officers accusing people of hurling various objects at them, including glass bottles, eggs and bricks.