Money Rebellion continues as Extinction Rebellion target Cambridge’s banks
Money Rebellion was in action this weekend as Extinction Rebellion, Red Rebels and Silent Rebellion activists lay in the road between two banks on St Andrew’s Street while performers representing the banks’ board members poured fake oil onto their bodies.
Climate justice campaigners were outraged by the recent news that last year global banks provided $750bn in financing to coal, oil and gas companies last year, despite many having pledged to back the Paris climate accord and cut their funding for fossil fuels. A report by Rainforest Action Network revealed that in total, the world’s 60 largest banks have provided $3.8tn to fossil fuel companies since 2016, when the Paris agreement came into effect.
“How can we stand by as banks like Barclays and HSBC continue to pour our money into coal, oil and gas?” said one Extinction Rebellion protester, who asked to remain anonymous. “Environmental breakdown is causing conflict and natural disasters today – people and wildlife are dying, families are being forced from their homes and areas of the planet are becoming uninhabitable. The banks are directly responsible for this.
“They could be using their position to invest in the green industries we need to get out of this mess. Instead, they are pumping money into a future of where war, pandemic and extinction are commonplace.
“They got away with the financial crisis in 2008 – let’s not let them get away with the climate crisis.”
In Saturday’s direct action, rebels dressed in white represented the Earth and all life on it, while performers wearing suits represented the banks who are financing the fossil fuel industry. Passers-by watched as the rebels in white fell to the road, representing the collapse of the Earth in harmony, and the performers in suits poured thick, black fake oil over them, symbolising the banks’ destruction of habitats and lives.
Extinction Rebellion Cambridge and XR Youth Cambridge targeted Barclays and HSBC branches in St Andrew’s Street, with demands that “banks tell the truth about their destructive behaviour, act now to stop financing death, destruction and social collapse - and start repairing the damage and make the necessary investments to prepare for the climate, ecological and health emergency”.
As well as carrying out their direct action in the road, Extinction Rebellion protesters staged a “Silent Rebellion” outside Barclays, in which activists silently meditated, surrounded by boards containing information about the banks’ role in the climate crisis.