Twenty Barclays branches smashed up by Palestine activists who claim bank is 'funding Israel'

10 June 2024, 12:14 | Updated: 10 June 2024, 12:42

Several Barclays branches have been targeted
Several Barclays branches have been targeted. Picture: LBC/Palestine Action

By Kit Heren

Radical pro-Palestine activists have smashed windows at 20 branches of Barclays across the UK, claiming that the bank is helping fund Israel's war in Gaza.

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Palestine Action targeted at least three London branches of Barclays - in Richmond, St John's Wood, Moorgate and Croydon - as well as two in Bristol and Bury, among others.

The vandals, working with climate protesters Shut the System, sprayed red paint on the banks as well as destroying the large windows on the the street fronts.

Three men aged between 34 and 45 were arrested in connection with the damage to the Moorgate branch, City of London police said.

Officers said the men were spotted on CCTV and a short chase ensued before they were caught.

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The Barclays in Bristol
The Barclays in Bristol. Picture: LBC

Barclays said it is not bankrolling the war in Gaza, but provides financial services for military suppliers of NATO and its allies.

Despite this, the bank has been targeted several times in recent months. A Croydon branch had a window smashed and "free Palestine" and "baby killers" painted on the facade.

In January, several branches including one in Peckham were occupied by activists brandishing Palestine flags.

The Moorgate branch was vandalised in May with graffiti accusing the bank of funding the deaths of children.

In addition, the bank's annual shareholder meeting was disrupted by pro-Palestine activists who shouted "blood on your hands".

The Barclays in Bury
The Barclays in Bury. Picture: Alamy

A spokesperson for Palestine Action said: "Barclays is funding the crises of climate collapse and genocide in Palestine."

The group said that it is working with green protesters Shut the System "to maximise effectiveness" as they both have similar means and ends.

Barclays said it provides "vital financial services to US, UK and European public companies that supply defence products to Nato and its allies", adding that it does not directly invest in these companies.

A spokesperson also said: "The defence sector is fundamental to our national security and the UK government has been clear that supporting defence companies is compatible with ESG considerations.

20 branches have been targeted
20 branches have been targeted. Picture: Palestine Action

"Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.

“While we support the right to protest, we ask that campaigners do so in a way which respects our customers, colleagues and property."

City of London police said of the men they arrested: "They were seen on CCTV and officers were sent to the scene.

"Following a short foot chase, three men were brought into custody.”

Avon and Somerset Police said: "Detectives are investigating after the windows of a bank in Bristol city centre were smashed overnight.Red paint was also thrown over the Barclays branch on Broadmead at around 3.10am.

"Officers attended and searched the building and nearby streets but the offenders had already left, it’s not believed they entered the building.

A cordon is currently in place while crime scene investigators examine the area and the bank is made secure.A hammer and a can of paint have been recovered and CCTV enquiries are ongoing.

"Investigating officers are keen to speak to anyone who saw three people wearing balaclavas leave Broadmead on bicycles shortly after the damage was caused.

"We believe the incident is linked to damage caused to a number of other Barclays branches across the country which were targeted in a similar way at around the same time.

"Anyone with information or footage which could help is asked to phone 101 and provide the call handler with the reference 5224148983".

LBC has contacted the Met Police and Greater Manchester Police for comment.

Gaza's Hamas-controlled health ministry says over 37,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, which followed the terror group's October 7 attack on Israel.

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