Customers angry as Barclays branches in Portsmouth locked down by Greenpeace campaigners

Greenpeace activists have disabled doors at Barclays branches in Portsmouth.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 11:18 am
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:40 pm

The environmental campaign group has targeted 100 high street branches of the bank in Britain, including those in the city.

Branches targeted in Portsmouth are in Commercial Road, in the city centre, and in Osborne Road, Southsea.

It comes as Greenpeace said the bank is the ‘biggest funder of fossil fuels among European banks’.

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Greenpeace have drilled out the lock at Barclays in Osborne Road, Southsea, as part of a campaign where they targeted 100 branches of the bank in the UK. Picture: Dean Bone

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Customers and staff were left outside as they waited for locksmiths to re-open. By 1pm staff were inside the Commercial Road branch, and the Southsea branch has fully re-opened.

Lee Davies, a builder from Milton, was in Commercial Road to make payments from his business account.

The 54-year-old said: ‘I think it’s stupid.

Greenpeace activists shut down Barclays branches in Leicester on March 2. Picture: Chris Mackins/Greenpeace

‘There are other ways for them to make their point.

‘Vandalism is the wrong way to make the point.

‘This doesn’t help the climate, it just inconveniences people. They want to get a life.’

Maria Chatburn, manager of Brunel News, said she did ‘support’ Greenpeace - but actions like this would make people ‘think again’ about supporting them.

Greenpeace activists shut down Barclays branches in Newcastle on March 2. Picture: Tim Morozzo/Greenpeace

She said: ‘I support a lot of Greenpeace activities but vandalism is going too far.’

Omar Rashad has come to the Commercial Road to pay money into his account - to find the branch closed by a group he knew nothing about.

The 18-year-old university computer science student said: ‘I haven’t heard of Greenpeace - I don’t know what they do.

‘It’s very annoying they’ve done this, I have got so much to do today.’

Customers and staff outsdie Barclays in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, where Greenpeace activists have drilled out the locks. A locksmith is trying to re-open the doors. Picture: Richard Lemmer

In a statement the group said: ‘In the early hours of the morning, Barclays branches in every UK region and cities from Portsmouth to Dundee were rendered out of action by Greenpeace activists who disabled the doors preventing staff from entering.

'At each of the branches targeted, images of Barclays customers bearing slogans such as ‘Stop Funding Fossil Fuels’ were plastered on branch windows.’

Exhibitions showing the affects of climate change have been put up outside branches in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

But Ros Brooks, a volunteer and organiser for the Greenpeace Portsmouth group, said activists in the city did not know that Barclays’ branches would be targeted – and said the action was ‘quite smart.’

She said: ‘We did know that a financial institution was going to be targeted – (Greenpeace HQ) like to keep their direct action projects under wraps.

‘I think it’s quite smart going after financial institutions.’

Morten Thaysen, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace UK said: ‘Barclays must stop funding the climate emergency, that’s why we’ve taken action in Portsmouth and across the country today.

‘Barclays keeps pumping billions into fossil fuel companies at exactly the time we need to stop backing these polluting businesses.’

The environmental group is ‘completely entitled’ to its views, according to a spokeswoman from Barclays, but she appealed for no further direct action against the bank.

She 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.

‘Greenpeace has a view on these issues to which they are completely entitled, but we would ask that – in expressing that view – they stop short of behaviour which targets our customers, and our colleagues, going about their lives in communities around the country.’