The volunteers were protesting Barclays' refusal to stop funding pipelines to take oil from Canada’s tar sands to sell in the US and Asia.
Around 40 activists took over the main entrance to the bank’s corporate headquarters at 7am this morning, while others dressed as staff got inside the building and played recorded messages from Barclays’ customers and affected communities in Canada to senior executives.
Meanwhile, six more volunteers scaled the entrance portico and recreated a tar sands oil leak dripping from the bank’s logo and others handed out leaflets to staff explaining the reasons for their protest. At 10.30am, Greenpeace said its impromptu installation and other protestors were still on site.
Greenpeace claimed that Barclays’ customers had contacted them to express their concern about the pipeline and that 30,000 of them had signed a petition asking the bank to stop funding it.
Protesters said that, since HSBC bank’s decision to change its policy, Barclays is the only UK bank still funding three pipelines to link Canada’s Alberta province with the country’s Pacific coast and the US.
Hannah Martin, oil campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: "Barclays have been ignoring the damage their dirty funding decisions are doing to the world, and to Indigenous communities in North America, so we’ve brought a little taste of what they’re trying to ignore right to their doorstep. Tar sands are a climate disaster. [They] produce more than twice the carbon of an average barrel of oil, and a tar sands oil spill is even worse than a normal crude oil spill."
In a statement, a Barclays spokesperson said: "We take seriously our societal and environmental obligations and are in dialogue with Greenpeace on this issue. We will continue to carefully consider our approach, taking into consideration the views of all relevant stakeholders, as well as the world’s energy needs."