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Protesters Target Barclays Branches in Nationwide Demonstrations

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Barclays bank branches throughout England and Scotland have faced a wave of protests led by pro-Palestine group, Palestine Action. Up to 20 branches were targeted, with buildings being defaced with red paint and windows smashed.

The protests were staged to demand that Barclays divest from Israel’s weapons trade and fossil fuels, according to Palestine Action. A spokesperson for Barclays responded, “While we support the right to protest, we ask that campaigners do so in a way which respects our customers, colleagues, and property.”

In Bristol, a city centre branch had its windows shattered and red graffiti sprayed across the building. In Edinburgh, protesters threw rocks inscribed with the names of Palestinians killed in the conflict at a Barclays building.

The City of London police reported the arrest of three men, aged between 34 and 45, in connection with criminal damage at the Moorgate branch on Monday morning. This branch was one of several in the capital to be targeted, including locations in St John’s Wood, Croydon, Richmond, Peckham, and Croydon.

Elsewhere, branches in Stockport, Bury, and Preston were similarly defaced and damaged. The protests also extended to Glasgow, Brighton, Exeter, Sheffield, Northampton, Birmingham, and Solihull, as confirmed by Palestine Action.

The newly formed underground climate movement, Shut the System, collaborated with Palestine Action’s underground division in these coordinated attacks. Both groups have stated that their actions will persist until Barclays ceases investments in certain companies.

A Barclays spokesperson reiterated the bank’s position, stating, “Barclays provides vital financial services to US, UK, and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies. 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. Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.”

These protests come in the wake of recent violence in southern Israel, where Hamas attacks on 7 October resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and the taking of around 251 hostages. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported a death toll of 37,084 people in the region as of Saturday.

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