Greenpeace locks out Barclays customers in fossil fuel protest
Four branches in Islington were targeted by the environmental group
06 March, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson
Barclays customers outside the Holloway Road bank
BEMUSED customers were turned away from their local Barclays branches after Greenpeace protesters disabled the front doors as part of a citywide protest.
Four branches of the bank in Islington were targeted by the environmental activist group, who were protesting its “continued multi-billion dollar support for fossil fuels”.
Staff and customers turned up to branches in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway Road, Highbury Corner and Angel on Monday morning to find glue and metal had been inserted into the front door locks.
At the Holloway Road Barclays, a branch manager, who asked not to be named, stood outside all morning explaining the closure to customers while a locksmith was called to allow business to carry on as normal.
“It’s as frustrating for us as it is for you,” said the branch manager as she apologised and directed confused customers to the nearest open stores.
One customer waiting to get into the bank agreed the protest was “frustrating”, but added: “They [Greenpeace] are just trying to do what they think is right.”
Most branches reopened the same day, with Seven Sisters Road opening on Tuesday.
In all, 29 Barclays branches were targeted by Greenpeace, who said in a statement: “Greenpeace are demanding that Barclays, the biggest funder of fossil fuels among European banks, stop propping up oil, gas and coal companies and channel funding into renewable energy.”
In Piccadilly Circus, the bank’s flagship branch, staff were greeted by a pop-up exhibition displaying photographs of climate emergency disasters over the past four years.
Morten Thaysen, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said “Barclays must stop funding the climate emergency, that’s why we’ve taken action today. From floods to bushfires and record heat in Antarctica, the impacts of this crisis are staring us in the face.
Yet Barclays keeps pumping billions into fossil fuel companies at exactly the time we need to stop backing these polluting businesses.
“Banks are just as responsible for the climate emergency as the fossil fuel companies they fund, yet they’ve escaped scrutiny for years.
“We’ve shut down branches across the country to shine a spotlight on Barclays’ role in bankrolling this emergency. It’s time Barclays pulled the plug and backed away from funding fossil fuels for good.”
A spokesman for the bank said: “We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, and 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.”
The Met Police were contacted for comment.