15 June, 2024
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UK: Pro-Palestine activists smash windows at Barclays branches over Israel arms links


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UK: Pro-Palestine activists smash windows at Barclays branches over Israel arms links

Activists threw rocks and sprayed red paint on 20 buildings from Edinburgh to London in protest against the bank’s ties to firms supplying arms to Israel

MEE staff

A Barclays branch targeted by activists in London on Monday 10 June (Supplied)

Pro-Palestine activists threw rocks and sprayed red paint on 20 branches of the British bank Barclays over its ties to arms firms supplying Israel in its ongoing war on Gaza.

Protest group Palestine Action claimed responsibility for the targeting of the buildings on Monday, adding it worked in coordination with the climate group Shut the System.

In a statement, the group said it “aims to halt the Palestinian genocide by undermining suppliers of weapons to the Israeli military… along with financial companies involved with these weapons suppliers”.

Palestine Action has previously targeted the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems in so-called direct action protests, which involve physical damage and occupation of British properties associated with the company.

The group says it has “adopted radical direct action tactics which include sabotage of key infrastructure to physically prevent continued support for destructive and lethal business operations”.

In May, several Palestinian solidarity organisations published a report stating that Barclays has £2bn ($2.48bn) of investments in companies involved in supplying arms to Israel.

The list of firms in which the financial giant is reported to have interests includes Elbit Systems, and General Dynamics, a US arms firm that produces components for warplanes. Other firms include BAE Systems and Raytheon.

In a statement, Barclays said it provides services to American, British, and European companies “that supply defence products to NATO and its allies”.

Barclays has ‘increased’ Israel arms trade investments

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“Barclays does not directly invest in these companies… Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.

“While we support the right to protest, we ask that campaigners do so in a way which respects our customers, colleagues, and property,” it added. 

Israel is currently defending itself from charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice case over its conduct in Gaza, where it has killed at least 37,000 people.

The vast majority of that number are women and children.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have also applied for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for crimes against humanity in the ongoing military campaign.

The Barclays buildings targeted on Monday are located across the UK, from Edinburgh in Scotland to the capital, London.

Pro-Palestine activists smash windows at Barclays bank branches across UK over Israel arms links

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