The moment Just Stop Oil met Extinction Rebellion Cambrdge on a day of climate action protest
This is the moment Just Stop Oil marchers passed Extinction Rebellion Cambridge protesters on a busy Cambridge street.
It’s the first time the two groups have hosted events on the same day in the same part of the city, and comes as national anguish about the rights and wrongs of protesting the climate crisis reach fever pitch.
Just Stop Oil has exceeded all previous protest norms by staging events at the Ashes cricket matches between England and Australia and disrupting tennis at Wimbledon this month.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) were protesting at Barclays, which is reported to be the largest funder of fossil fuels in the UK, with £190bn invested since the Paris climate change agreement in 2015.
XR Cambridge protester Jenny Langley said of the moment on Saturday’s day of protests: “They clapped us all as they arrived.
“One of their members came into the bank where we were sitting just to say hello and thank us for being there.”
With half a dozen XR protesters inside the bank and half a dozen outside, the bank was closed for half an hour. On the busy street, protesters handed out 500 leaflets asking Barclays’ customers and members of the public to switch their accounts to a more ethical bank.
According to this year’s edition of the Banking on Climate Chaos report, released by a coalition of NGOs including Reclaim Finance and BankTrack, global banks have collectively funnelled more than $5.5trn into the fossil fuel sector in the past seven years.
Just Stop Oil protester Cameron Ford said: “We started our march at Parker’s Piece and walked through the centre of town, over the bridge at Quayside, along Chesterton Road and on to the side of Midsummer Common and Jesus Green then across to Christ’s Pieces and we ended up in St Andrew’s Street.
“There were about 15 Just Stop Oil protesters. We knew XR were going to be there and we thought we’d go and show solidarity by finishing our march with them. There was a great moment when two young girls came out of the bank and looked around and said ‘Everyone’s protesting today’.
“The XR group clapped and we clapped them too. We felt it was important to show them that we support all the different strands of this movement. We’re all trying to fight for the same thing.
“We’re trying to build our community in Cambridge and give people an experience of slow marching locally. We had five new people yesterday, mostly from our outreach at Strawberry Fair. It’s about letting people know outside London that we’re everywhere and we do exist locally in Cambridge. Also, as we have culture-based actions, we engage with people along the way and it gives people a chance to say thank you which is what people were saying.”
There was some negativity from passers-by.
“We blocked the traffic during the 90-minute walk,” notes Cameron. “It was livelier than it has been - one courier was fuming and another passer-by poured their water over me.”
That surely wasn’t too alarming on a very hot day?
“It was a bit of a misjudged attack in my view,” deadpans Cameron.
Both protests were concluded without further incident.
Barclays was approached for comment.