Extinction Rebellion demonstration brings Sussex town to ‘standstill’

Protestors outside Barclays in Lewes. Picture by Stephen Watson SUS-190817-104606001
Protestors outside Barclays in Lewes. Picture by Stephen Watson SUS-190817-104606001

Climate activists brought a high street in a Sussex town to a standstill yesterday (Friday, August 16) as they occupied the road outside a branch of Barclays Bank.

The protest was organised by Extinction Rebellion in a bid to highlight what it says is Barclays’ continued investment in fossil fuels.

Protestors outside Barclays in Lewes. Picture by Stephen Watson SUS-190817-104617001

Protestors outside Barclays in Lewes. Picture by Stephen Watson SUS-190817-104617001

Two activists dressed as bankers incited passers-by in Lewes to ‘cash in with us as we trash the climate’.

Meanwhile, flag-waving protestors ‘swarmed’ the nearby roads, blocking traffic for up to seven minutes at a time with giant banners.

A representative of Extinction Rebellion Lewes said: “Tackling the climate crisis is a massive task. To make any progress we have to address the systems and companies that enable us to blindly head towards complete disaster. We demand that the financial institutions act on the climate science more urgently and remove investment in and support of fossil fuel development.

“Barclays are the top European banker of fracking and coal, and lead as the worst European bank for fossil fuel investment. This is why we are targeting them with our action.”

The group said both pedestrians and motorists were largely supportive.

Many thanked protestors, joined in the chanting or expressed interested in signing up to Extinction Rebellion.

An activist commented: “We apologise to anybody who was inconvenienced by our peaceful protest. Unfortunately, causing disruption seems to be the only way to get governments and corporations to listen to our message - and that message couldn’t be more urgent.

“If we don’t act now, we’re forcing the extinction of countless species. Some scientists even think that we’re looking at the extinction of the human race.”

Extinction Rebellion said it is gearing up to an ‘International Rebellion’ that will begin on October 7.

In London, tens of thousands of protestors are expected to block the roads around Westminster for a prolonged period.

Extinction Rebellion Lewes meets every other Monday at Linklater Pavilion. The next meeting will be Monday, August 26 at 7.45pm.

A Barclays spokesman said: “We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, and are determined to do all we can to support the transition to a low carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met.

“We continue to develop our green products suite and in 2018 we facilitated £27.3 billion in social and environmental financing across our business including green bonds and renewable financing.”