Extinction Rebellion: Hundreds of activists picket Bank of England

14 October 2019, 17:41

Protesters blocked a busy junction outside the Bank of England
Protesters blocked a busy junction outside the Bank of England. Picture: PA

By Megan White

More than 500 Extinction Rebellion protesters have continued to block a junction outside the Bank of England in a bid to disrupt the City of London.

Activists chanted "extinction, rebellion" to a loud drum beat in the financial district, obstructing buses and stopping traffic.

Many held banners and placards bearing messages targeting financial institutions, such as "divest from climate change" and "invest in soil not oil".

Over 90 arrests have been made so far, for offences including criminal damage, public nuisance and breaches of the Section 14 Public Order Act conditions.

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman was arrested during the protests
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman was arrested during the protests. Picture: PA

A total of 1,445 people have been arrested in connection with the protests, which started last Monday.

A Rabbi was arrested after leading a group of Jewish protesters to join the activists at the blockade.

North London Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, 77, was carried by police to a van where he is now being arrested, as his supporters followed singing Jewish hymns.

Before he was carried away, the Rabbi Emeritus of Finchley Reform Synagogue, who was wearing a white skullcap branded with the black Extinction Rebellion logo, said: "I see it as my religious and moral duty to stand up for what I believe in, and what I care about, for my grandchildren."

Police attempt to push back protesters as they continue to block the road outside Mansion House
Police attempt to push back protesters as they continue to block the road outside Mansion House. Picture: PA

Dave Evans, 32, an IT consultant from London, said he had taken two weeks unpaid leave to join the protests.

He said the finance sector needed to "stop funding the climate crisis".

"These huge corporations are financing fossil fuels and [are] being subsidised by the Government," he added.

Iris Skipworth, who was handing out Extinction Rebellion leaflets to commuters at the obstructed crossroads at Bank, said she had received "death threats" from passers-by.

The 20-year-old, who was wearing a waterproof poncho, has been camping at Vauxhall with "some 400 others" for four days.

She said: "A lot of commuters are very annoyed, because they are trying to get to work quickly. I can understand, but it's shortsighted.

"I have had people saying things like 'Get a job, you wanker', 'Get out of the road', and 'Why don't you go extinct?'."

Ms Skipworth, who has taken time off from her job as a garden centre assistant in Manchester, added: "I'm here because the 33 banks around the City of London gave £66 billion to the fossil fuel industry this year, and £0.9 trillion since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.

"The Government has declared a climate emergency, yet they're not even scaling this back slightly ... we're here to hit the Government in the wallet, hopefully."

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