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Extinction Rebellion target Bank of England over fossil fuel investments

EXTINCTION Rebellion (XR) demonstrators blocked the roads outside the Bank of England today in protest at investment in fossil fuels.

Hundreds of climate change activists occupied the junction, bringing traffic to a standstill as XR’s latest campaign of peaceful protest entered its second week.

The activists say financial markets are pouring trillions of pounds into the climate-damaging fossil fuel industry.

Some distributed leaflets apologising for the disruption caused by the protests and explaining why they are taking place.

Iris Skipworth, one of those handing out leaflets, reported receiving death threats from passers-by.

The 20-year-old said: “A lot of commuters are very annoyed because they are trying to get to work quickly. I can understand, but it’s short-sighted.

“I have had people saying things like ‘Get a job, you wanker,’ ‘Get out of the road,’ and ‘Why don’t you go extinct?’

“I’m here because the 33 banks around the City of London gave £66 billion to the fossil fuel industry this year and £0.9 trillion since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.

“The government has declared a climate emergency, yet they’re not even scaling this back slightly … we’re here to hit the government in the wallet, hopefully.”

Police warned activists they would be arrested under a section 40 order for obstructing traffic if they did not leave the area, a risk many protesters were willing to take to “raise the alarm” over the environmental crisis.

Seventy-seven-year-old rabbi Jeffrey Newman was among those arrested for leading a group to join the protests and kneeling down to pray in the middle of the road.

Mr Newman, who said it was his “religious and moral duty” to take action, was carried by police into a van while his supporters followed singing Jewish hymns.

Some protesters held a yoga class on one of the roads as others chanted “Extinction Rebellion” and “power to the people.”

Demonstrators led by activists dressed in laboratory coats then marched to block roads outside Monument Tube station, with some drumming and dancing. However, they were prevented from continuing onto London Bridge.

More than 1,300 people have already been arrested during the London protests, which are part of what XR calls an international rebellion in cities across the globe.

Dozens of activists are expected to appear in court this week for taking part in XR protests in April.

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