In Case Of Climate Emergency, Break Glass

On Friday 27 January 2023 at 4:30pm, seven women were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London for carefully cracking windows at Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf earlier in the year. These courageous women committed this symbolic act to draw attention to Barclays’ financing of fossil fuels and to call on the bank to stop accelerating the climate emergency.

At sentencing, all seven women were given two years unconditional suspended sentences and were ordered to pay £500 each towards prosecution costs.

One of the women, Sophie Cowen, explained, “Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions, and sometimes we have to go beyond what we see as the norm. I certainly did when I took this action. The decisions we make today will shape our tomorrow. The climate crisis isn’t ‘our belief’ or ‘our opinion’. It’s the truth. And it’s here. We can only solve the climate crisis if we, together, question what we’re told can’t change, and together, write a new history.”

That morning, over 100 women dressed as suffragettes marched from the Bank of England to the court with banners and placards saying ‘Barclays are the Real Criminals’ and ‘Barclays Profit while the World Burns’ to show their support. They were joined amongst others by Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and actor Juliet Stevenson.

Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, said, “It takes courage to challenge the status quo, to risk prison for a cause and to speak truth to power. I’m here in support of the Climate Activists being sentenced today, and in memory of my grandmother and great-grandmother and all the suffragettes who did likewise, over a century ago.”

Across the North East, large stickers appeared on the windows of local Barclays branches that read – IN CASE OF CLIMATE EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS.

Outside the Barclays Bank in Hexham, protesters gathered with a large banner with the words NO FUTURE IN FOSSIL FUELS to support the seven women being sentenced in London and to raise awareness of Barclays’ investment in fossil fuels. Cleaners in Hazmat suits attempted to clean the windows of this filthy bank that is the No 1. Investor in fossil fuels in Europe. Those gathered entered into conversation with passers by to raise awareness of the bank’s investments.