The Earth Day protest is the second time the movement has broken windows this month after smashing glass at Barclays Bank’s headquarters in London in April 7.
Nine women took part in today’s demonstration, wearing patches with the words ‘better broken windows than broken promises’ in a reference to the Suffragette movement of the early 20th century.
Stickers reading ‘£80 billion into fossil fuels in the last five years’ were stuck to the windows, before the women hammered oversized nails through the glass.
All nine activists were arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage, the Metropolitan Police confirmed.
Extinction Rebellion activists today smashed at least 19 windows at HSBC’s Canary Wharf headquarters as they claimed the bank is financing climate change.
Several woman stuck fliers reading ‘£80 billion into fossil fuels in the last five years’ to the windows, before hammering oversized nails through the glass
The protest was staged to draw attention to HSBC’s continuing links to the fossil fuel industry, with activists claiming the bank’s climate plan allows it to finance coal power.
In a statement, the group said: ‘Despite HSBCs pledge to shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050, their current climate plan still allows the bank to finance coal power, and provides no basis to turn away clients or cancel contracts based on links to the fossil fuel industry.’
HSBC told MailOnline it welcomes ‘meaningful dialogue’ on its climate strategy but it ‘cannot condone vandalism or actions that put people and property at risk.’
The bank added it is ‘committed to set out short and medium term transition targets, and to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2040 globally.’
A spokesperson said: ‘We have an ambition to be net zero by 2030 and to bring our financed emissions to net zero by 2050.
‘We remain committed to supporting our customers in their transition to net zero.’
Extinction Rebellion wants to trigger a wider revolt against the political, economic and social structures of the modern world to avert the worst scenarios of devastation outlined by scientists studying climate change.
‘It’s time to stand up and be counted,’ said Gully Bujak, 28, from Extinction Rebellion. ‘Doing this today may land us in prison but we’re on the right side of history.’
The activists then sat on the floor to wait for the Metropolitan Police to arrive
A security officer speaks with an activist from Extinction Rebellion during a protest in London
A placard hangs on a broken window as activists from the Extinction Rebellion hold a direct action protest outside HSBC headquarters in Canary Wharf
Three women wearing face masks with the Extinction Rebellion emblem are seen in London
Valerie Brown, 68, the London mayoral candidate for political party Burning Pink, addressed HSBC directly following the protest.
She said: ‘Investing in fossil fuels is murder. More and more people can see that clearly. Why can’t you?
‘We will not stand by whilst you invest in runaway greed, whilst people’s lives are being shattered by the fossil fuel industries.’
Activists used hammers and chisels decorated with the names of five members of the South Afrikan women’s climate justice group, the Pink Panthers, to crack the glass.
Orthalia Kunene, from the Pink Panthers, said: ‘A changing climate affects everyone, but it’s the world’s poorest and those in vulnerable situations, especially women and girls, who bear the brunt of environmental, economic, and social shocks.’
Grandmother Susan Reid, 62, from Preston, added: ‘I shouldn’t be having to do this but I think we owe it to our children and grandchildren to act in whatever way we can.
Police officers appear to detain an activist from Extinction Rebellion during a protest outside HSBC headquarters in Canary Wharf today
All nine activists were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, the Met confirmed
Police officers arrived at the scene after activists smashed at least 19 windows at the HSBC HQ
The protest took place outside HSBC’s London headquarters in Canary Wharf today
‘I would like to enjoy my retirement with my grandchildren, but instead I have to spend it fighting for their future because banks like HSBC are happy to keep making money from fossil fuels no matter the risk.
‘We’re in a planetary emergency and people are dying right now. Just because it’s not on our doorstep doesn’t mean it’s not already happening in the global south. What we are doing today is an act of care.’
Blyth Brentnall, 29, took place in the protest despite risking a prison term for her actions due to her previous involvement with Extinction Rebellion and Burning Pink.
She said: ‘I’m doing this because it’s even more terrifying that the commercial banks are knowingly investing billions in industries that will deprive future generations of an inhabitable planet.’
Nine women took part in the demonstration, wearing jackets with the words ‘better broken windows than broken promises’ in a reference to the Suffragette movement
An activist from the Extinction Rebellion, a global environmental movement, holds a hammer in front of a broken window
The Metropolitan Police confirmed all nine activists were arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Police were called at approximately 07:10hrs on Thursday, 22 April to reports of a group of protestors causing criminal damage to a building in Canada Square.
‘Nine women have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and remain in police custody. Enquiries are ongoing.’
The protest comes on Earth Day, when President Joe Biden will pledge to kick-start a year of action on climate change as he hosts his first summit to mark the occasion.
The White House meeting will be held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with some 40 world leaders expected to attend including Boris Johnson, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Police officers detain an Extinction Rebellion activist outside Barclays Bank’s London headquarters in Canary Wharf following a demonstration on April 7
An Extinction Rebellion protest at Barclays in Canary Wharf, where they used hammers and chisels to break windows on April 7
Earth Day is designed to drive action on the climate crisis on a global scale, with this year’s theme ‘Restore Earth’ designed to highlight a belief that the Earth can recover from the problems it currently faces.
The UN’s secretary-general today issued a video message reminding people that the planet is at a ‘tipping point’ in its climate crisis.
Antonio Guterres added: ‘Recovery from the #COVID19 pandemic is a chance to set the world on a cleaner, greener, more sustainable path.
‘We must end our war on nature and nurse it back to health.’
It comes after Extinction Rebellion activists broke windows at the London headquarters of Barclays two weeks ago.