Environmental activists stormed a Dundee bank branch in order to “clean” it of its involvement with petrol companies.
Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) Dundee entered the City Square branch of Barclays dressed as cleaners and carrying empty buckets and mops.
Customers and staff could only look on as the peaceful protesters wiped down railings, mopped floors and scrubbed glass in what the group said was an act of defiance in response to Barclays’ involvement with petrol companies.
XR claims the banking chain is continuing to lend money and provide financial services to companies causing environmental harm through Arctic oil and gas exploration and tar sands projects in Canada.
According to BankTrack, a protest group that advocates for responsible investment by the world’s biggest banks, Barclays has invested $85 billion in fossil fuels since the end of 2015.
A spokesperson for XR Dundee said: “We are in a climate emergency, as Dundee City Council has acknowledged, and we need to act accordingly.
“There is no place for new and destructive fossil fuels in the cleaner and fairer future that we can build together. This action was a symbol of the changes which we are calling upon Barclays to make, and we are inviting local Barclays customers especially to demand that change.
“We know that the people of Dundee recognise the climate emergency, feel compassion for those already suffering from its effects, and want to work together to protect our beautiful world and those with whom we share it.
#BarclaysCleanUpYourAct #DirtiestBritishBank #GrubbyGrubbyBarclays #MorallyBankruptBarclays
Posted by Extinction Rebellion Dundee on Saturday, 9 November 2019
“Extinction Rebellion Dundee is a growing group of just such people, of all ages and backgrounds. Some are lifelong environmentalists; others have never taken part in a protest before. Some hold banners, and others make them. Some risk arrest, and others provide quiet and equally essential support.
“Whatever your situation and your skills, if you are concerned about the climate emergency and ready to help in any way, you will find a warm welcome with us.”
Earlier this year, Barclays defended its ongoing support of firms that deal in fossil fuels.
A climate change report released by the bank in January was adamant that oil and gas were “expected to continue to be the main source of energy for decades to come”. The bank said it would support fossil fuel firms which operate in an “environmentally and socially responsible way, in order to ensure that the world’s energy needs are met.”
Responding to the action by protesters on Saturday, a Barclays spokesperson said: “We recognise that climate change is a major challenge facing the world today.
“We are determined to do all we can to support the transition to a low carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met.
“We continue to develop our green products suite and last year facilitated £27.3bn in social and environmental financing across our business including green bonds and renewable financing.”