ANTI-FRACKING campaigners occupied branches of Barclays bank in five British cities yesterday.
Sit-ins took place in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Lancaster and Oxford, forcing staff to close the branches and turn customers away.
Campaigners are calling on the bank to cancel its £1.2 billion of investments in “extreme energy” producers.
Occupier Molly Hopkinshaw said: “We are here to tell Barclays that they can’t hide behind their flashy high-street branches. We know what they are doing and we will not let them continue.”
Barclays invests in Shell, BHP Billiton and Anglo American as well as IGas and Third Energy, which both plan to frack in Yorkshire.
People & Planet campaign co-ordinator Naia Lopez said: “Despite more and more universities divesting from fossil fuels, UK banks continue to finance the wreckage of our climate and the destruction of communities.
“Barclays was forced to end its historic investments in apartheid South Africa following student campaigning.
Grassroots action can force them to stop bankrolling extreme energy in the UK and worldwide.”
Samuel Arregoces, from the Colombian village of Tabaco, whose residents were evicted to make way for a mine expansion in 2001, said: “Banks like Barclays that finance multinationals like BHP Billiton are responsible for environmental disasters.
“They finance the destruction of the environment, the dispossession of communities and their cultural extermination. This is blood coal money, this is displacement money.”