Extinction Rebellion Colchester (XRC) are set to stage an “unscheduled cleaning” protest at the High Street Barclays branch this weekend as part of ongoing efforts to shine a spotlight on the bank’s investment in fossil fuels. The protest will involve a group of “dirty scrubbers” cleaning up the bank XRC considers “Europe’s dirtiest”.
The protestors will arrive at the branch on Saturday (August 27) – equipped with sponges, mops and feather dusters – to scrub the bank’s windows and polish its interior. They will also level accusations of greenwashing at Barclays, who XRC also claim continue to invest heavily in fossil fuels at the expense of the planet.
The Colchester protest is part of a wider series of protests against the bank being undertaken by XR as part of its ‘Better Without Barclays’ campaign. Created earlier this year, the driving force behind this campaign is explained in a post on the XR Facebook page.
“Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels in Europe, and has increased spending on fossil fuels in the past year. This goes directly against their (far too late) ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050 and help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy,” it reads.
Rosie Dodds, a charity worker from Clacton who will be at Saturday’s protest, said: “We have decided to clean Barclays because they are the dirtiest bank in Europe, investing billions in oil, gas and fracking. Instead of helping us solve the climate crisis, Barclays is actively making it worse.”
“We demand Barclays divest from fossil fuels, and stop their climate and ecosystem-wrecking investments. Stop the greenwash. Help preserve everyone’s futures,” she added.
XRC has expanded on the claim that Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels in Europe, claiming that the bank injected “over $19.6 Billion into the industry in 2021 alone”. In a letter issued to shareholders this year, Barclays Chairman Nigel Higgins promised that the bank “puts considerable effort into both the expansion of its green and sustainable financing activities and the diminution in its fossil fuel financing”.
Speaking about previous protests Barclays has said: “We are determined to play our part in addressing the urgent and complex challenge of climate change. We have a three-part strategy to turn that ambition into action: achieving net zero operations, reducing our financed emissions, and financing the transition.”