Extinction Rebellion sprays Bank of England with ‘oil’ in new wave of protest

Protesters dressed as ‘Fossil Fools’ splattered the side of the Bank of England

Emily Atkinson
Thursday 01 April 2021 13:59 BST
Extinction Rebellion sprays Bank of England with 'oil' to launch 'Money Rebellion' protest
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Several people have been arrested as Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Fossil Fool’ protesters sprayed the Bank of England with fake oil to highlight the “societal collapse” the activist group say global financial institutions are driving the planet towards.

XR’s latest theatrical protest saw suit-clad activists descend on the heart of London’s financial district, demanding the Bank of England regulate the banks which continue to fund fossil fuel companies.

The biodegradable fake oil, a mixture of black pond dye and guar gum extracted from beans, was sprayed from fire extinguishers onto the grand entrance to the bank. A sign reading ‘No More Fossil Fools’ has since been removed.

“The world’s 60 largest banks have funded the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $3.8 trillion since 2016,” XR said.

“The action today highlights the Bank of England’s failure to regulate these banks and points to the fact that it still holds investments consistent with 3.5C of warming by the end of the century.”

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Fake ‘windows’ were also placed against the building by protesters, the panes depicting images of ecological crises, meant to symbolise the ‘impacts of the Bank’s activities’ on our environment, according to XR.

“The Bank of England has failed utterly in its duty to regulate giant funders of fossil fuels. The climate crisis will never be averted if big banks, whose only concern is profit, are left to their own devices,” XR member Robert Wheeldon said in a statement.

“The Bank of England needs to make it impossible for UK banks to keep funding the fossil fuel industry and nature destruction,” he added.

(AFP via Getty Images)

“The multiple crises that we face – climate change, inequality, overconsumption of the planet’s resources – cannot be addressed without changing the system that drives them.”

City of London police said four arrests were made relating to criminal damage, and one for criminal trespass.

Friday’s ‘Money Rebellion’ protest is part of a series of actions from XR following a recent report from several NGOs that 60 banks have continued to fund fossil fuel companies since the Paris Climate Agreement was reached in 2015.

Elsewhere, local XR groups in Glasgow, Brighton, Cambridge and Cornwall, are also targeting private banks, while in Paris, Brussels and Melbourne, protesters are marching against the economic institutions XR say are “killing” us.

Earlier this week, a performance was held outside Barclays Bank headquarters in Canary Wharf, as the XR activists adorned in aprons and washing-up gloves, calling on the bank ‘clean up its act’.

The same morning, Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of XR, was filmed breaking the windows of Barclays Bank in Stroud to throw down the gauntlet for their new wave of action against the banks.

“We are on a path towards the collapse of our civilizations, and with billions dying in our children’s lifetime. Those who are failing to lead adequate action on the climate and ecological crisis are committing crimes against humanity, she said in a promotional video for the ‘Money Rebellion’.

“This is about an economic system that functions like a cancer.”

In October 2019, eight members of XR were arrested after protesters dressed in mourning clothes attempted to spray fake blood from a fire engine over the Treasury in Westminster.

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