Climate activists claim Dalston protest policing ‘scary and disproportionate’

Gill Harris, far right, and Extinction Rebellion protestors at Dalston Barclays. Pic: Neil Martinson

Eight Extinction Rebellion protestors, standing outside a branch of Barclays bank in Dalston, were handcuffed by police officers in what they claim was a ‘disproportionate’ response.

Protestors stood outside over 100 Barclays branches across the UK on November 14.  

Gill Harris, 74, an Extinction Rebellion protestor said she was “shocked and frightened” at the Dalston Barclays protest. She was one of eight protestors who stood outside the bank for two hours.

Harris told Eastlondonlines about being watched by 12 to 15 police officers: “It was a peaceful protest … A lot of police arrived and simply observed us for over an hour, they could see what we were doing, we talked to people, gave people leaflets, it was all quite relaxed.” 

“All of a sudden, after an hour, they rushed towards us, started chanting at us.”  Two of us, me and my husband, refused to be searched. I said, ‘You have no grounds to search us’. They handcuffed him … I felt really stressed and frightened.” 

Harris continued: “We were the only group of elders that had been attacked in Barclays… The fear of new ways of policing us…was intimidating and frightening. It was scary and disproportionate.” 

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook said in a statement: “Hundreds of people staged an intervention on Barclays, sending a message to the high street bank that (…) They are rapidly losing the social licence to do business in towns and cities of the UK.”

Extinction Rebellion climate march at Trafalgar Square on November 12. Pic: Donna Travis

She added: “It’s high time that Barclays recognised the destructive role they are playing as Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels and changed course.”  

‘Blood on their hands’ display by XR protestor. Pic: Donna Travis

Donna Travis, advocate for art project Future Hackney and street photographer, was at the Dalston protest. She told Eastlondonlines: “I was there trying to highlight and photograph the area, I have been documenting these protests for a month now.”

Barclays and other non-green investment companies ought to be exposed. She added: “All these banks are investing in fossil fuels, that needs to be transparent so people can move their investments to cleaner energy. Barclays invested 146 billion into fossil fuels, fuelling the climate crisis. None of this gets into the media. We need to know transparently, in the news, who’s investing in fossil fuels and [whether] they are going to change to clean energy.” 

Climate crisis protest at Shell on November 12. Pic: Donna Travis

Over the past month, she talked to scientists and doctors who were “in panic.”

She warned about being on the cuff of global catastrophe: “It’s going to be chaos. Once you have no food and flooding, there will be civil unrest.”  

The Metropolitan Police said it did not wish to comment on the claims about the Dalston protest

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