Two arrested after bank windows smashed in climate protest

Two men have been arrested after the windows of a Glasgow bank were smashed as demonstrators demanded Barclays cut ties with fossil fuel firms.

Wearing safety goggles and Kevlar gloves, Extinction Rebellion protesters broke the glass of the bank’s Clyde Place Quay branch ahead of a demonstration outside the company’s outlet later on Monday.

Police Scotland said two men had been arrested, and investigations were ongoing.

In images released by the campaign group, the window panes of the building at its multi-million pound Glasgow campus had been broken, and three protesters held up banners declaring “this is an intervention” and calling on the company to “stop funding Rosebank”.

Protesters outside a bank holding banners saying stop finding rosebank and this is an intervention.
Protesters outside Barclays in Glasgow after its windows were broken (Extinction Rebellion/PA)

The Glasgow protesters said the field has more than 500 million barrels of oil, and claim Barclays have provided Norwegian state-owned firm Equinor with 2.46 billion dollars (£2 billion) of backing since 2015.

In footage released by the group, police liaison officers can be seen at the bank with police vans and cars arriving as they held their banners.

One Extinction Rebellion protester said they were taking the action because “Barclays are finding the destruction of our planet, and they are funding the destruction of our children’s future”.

“I cannot stand by and do nothing while Barclays fund the collapse of society,” she said.

Alex Cochrane, of Extinction Rebellion Scotland, said that the bank were the “biggest funders of fossil fuel in Europe”.

“Their greed is exploiting and creating a future of famine, displaced people and global suffering,” he said.

“We all know we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. We all know the climate crisis is already hitting us yet Barclays still refuses to do the right thing for us.

“For all our sakes, they must stop using our money to fund fossil fuels.”

The group claimed the action in Scotland’s biggest city followed in the footsteps of suffragettes and the Ploughshares movement, “using non-violent direct action and causing damage to property to prevent and draw attention to greater damage”.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Around 8.10am on Monday 14 November, police were made aware of damage to a property in Kingston Street, Glasgow.

“Officers attended and two men have been arrested. Inquires are ongoing.”

Meanwhile outside the Barclays in Aberdeen’s Union Street, Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil activists sprayed plastered the building, which is also home to offices for oil company Shell, with posters and then spray painted it in orange paint.

Lee Matthews, 22, who was at the protest, said: “Continuing to invest in fossil fuels is abhorrent and we must do everything in our power to stop them from doing so.”

And a protester known only as Jean said campaigners were “motivated by love”.

“We love this planet, this is our home, but right now its ecological systems are breaking down and we want to change that,” the protester said.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “Barclays was one of the first banks to set an ambition to become net zero by 2050.

“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 facilitated over £80 billion of green financing since 2018 and we are investing our own capital – £175 million – into sustainability-focussed start-ups.

“While Extinction Rebellion are entitled to their views on these issues, we would ask that in expressing that view they stop short of criminal damage to our facilities which puts people’s safety at risk.”