Protesters defend the right to break Barclays Bank’s windows (Picture: Extinction rebellion)

Climate group Extinction Rebellion (XR) marched and protested as seven activists appeared last week in court for sentencing after they smashed windows at Barclays bank.

The Barclays Seven broke the windows to highlight the bank’s climate crimes. All were given two years unconditional suspended sentences. All will have to pay around £500 in prosecution costs.

Outside the court XR activists and the group held a sign that read, “Barclays are the real criminals”. One of the defendants, Sophie Cowen, said, “The decisions we make today will shape our tomorrow. The climate crisis isn’t ‘our belief’ or ‘our opinion’. 

It’s the truth. And it’s here. We can only solve the climate crisis if we, together, question what we’re told can’t change, and together, write a new history.”

Another defendant Zoe Cohen said, “146 million people across Africa are facing extreme hunger caused by climate drought—that’s more than twice the entire population of the UK. Banks like Barclays have funded this death project.

“This is not an accident. The people on the boards of Barclays and the other major ‘investors’ have made these decisions.”

XR activists also participated in a protest in Teignmouth in Devon against raw sewage being dumped in the sea. Most Tory MPs voted against an amendment to the Environment act in 2021 that would have made it harder for companies to dump waste into rivers.

The group put up spoof blue plaques to hit back at MPs who are doing nothing to stop bosses at companies like South West Water dumping sewage in the sea. XR and other groups are continuing to build for what they are calling “the big one” on 21 April.

The group hopes to get 100,000 out on the streets outside parliament to demand the government properly address the climate crisis.

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