Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested for smashing Barclays windows
- Credit: Sarah Burgess
Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested in Norwich after smashing the front windows of a Barclays bank branch.
The two women used hammers and chisels to smash the windows of the branch at St James Court, just outside the city centre, at roughly 7.10am on Tuesday.
Police officers arrived at 7.20am and were followed by more soon after. Both women were then arrested at around 7.35am.
The women wore posters daubed with the words "better broken windows than broken promises", while a sign reading "in case of climate emergency break glass" was pasted onto the broken shop window.
One of the protesters, 68-year-old Jenn, said she had turned to civil disobedience as a "last resort" because Barclays was refusing to recognise its contributing role in "the calamity of climate change".
Barclays said their Whitefriars Norwich branch was closed as a result of the damage, and that the nearest one was on St Stephens.
"Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers", a spokesperson said. "We are working hard to get the branch open as soon as possible, although we can't give an exact timescale."
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On the topic of climate change, the spokesperson said: "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."
Speaking before her arrest, Jenn said: "I was out protesting at the COP 6 at The Hague in 2000 when climate change was big on the agenda, but here we are 20 years later and absolutely nothing has changed.
"I really feel like there is no other option now.
"In autumn 2019, I approached Barclays at Canary Wharf to speak to management and was denied.
"What exactly is it I have to do to get their attention?
"I've tried conventional campaigning for 30 years plus and seen no progress. This is a last resort."
Fellow protester Amanda, 50, said: "My Christian faith doesn't permit me to sit on the sofa while appalling harm is being done.
"I'm breaking this window as a rejection of the laws that protect climate criminals.
"Barclays is the dirtiest bank in Europe. It is funding the destruction of our climate and the natural world.
"I don't believe Barclays bankers and customers want to fund ecocide, and the climate crisis, so I am here to expose the scale of their fossil fuel investment."
The damage follows further acts of "civil disobedience" in London, where Extinction Rebellion protesters smashed the windows of Barclays' London HQ in Canary Wharf.