As someone in the sustainability sphere online I've seen a lot of my friends and mutuals joining XR demonstrations and seeming to have a great time and I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with but, well life just kept getting in the way.

Until today, today was the day that I finally managed to get involved, and had a bloody good time too. I don't have too many photos of the protest itself as I was too involved but I did get pictures of everyone before the procession started.

What was the Protest?
Today's action was a coordinated effort in Nottingham, Lincoln, Derby, Newark and Loughborough with protests at Barclay's banks in all of these places.

We dressed as bankers and walked around the city centre in a silent and protest before staging a walk around and die ins at Barclay's bank. With people leafletting the way around to give the general public information on our action.  The protest was aimed at informing people about the investment of banks in the fossil fuel industry and to emphasise that business as usual is killing the planet, we can't just carry on like this.

Why Barclays?
Just 33 banks have invested a total of 1.9 Trillion Dollars in the fossil fuel industry since the Paris climate accord in 2015, an agreement which saw a longterm goal of keeping global temperature rises below 1.5°Cand emphasised the need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels. $600 Billion of this went to just 100 companies who are still looking for new sources of fossil fuels. Despite the climate emergency we currently face banks investment in fossil fuels continues to rise.

Barclays is the largest investor in fossil fuels in the Europe, and the sixth biggest in the world. In the last year it has invested over 66.8 billion dollars in fossil fuels since 2016 with 24 billion invested just late year. Banks like Barclays are keeping the fossil fuel industry going, an industry that is helping to ensure the destruction of our planet through carbon emissions, overconsumption of resources, and mass extinction.

For more information on banking and fossil fuels you can check out the Rainforest Action Network's Banking on Climate Change and the Price of Oil Fossil Fuel Climate Report (both for 2019).

My thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to except rocking up, and I did hear other people say that this was an unusual one for XR, as often their protests are quite loud. But I rocked up and first saw three police liaison officers before coming across a group of about 40 people wearing suits and painting each other's faces white.

 There were no plans for anyone to get arrested at this event, the Police Liaison Officers were just there to make sure we didn't do anything illegal and to talk to the staff at Barclays and supervise I suppose. We also had three legal observers with us, just incase, but they weren't used today. I have to say I was surprised by the "legal presence" here, I've only ever been to big protests where there are lots of police about for lots of people so was kind of surprised to find officers there just for a group of 60 of us.

As far as the style of protest goes I enjoyed the silent (ish) walk through town looking gormless, I just zoned out and enjoyed a good wander before we got to Barclays. I especially liked the die ins, I have to say I'm a fan of a style of protest where you get to have a lie town for ten minutes at a time.
Overall I was really surprised by the general public's response too, we got a few people heckling things like "live in the real world" and those who were not too pleased to see us but most people seemed to want to know what was going on, wanted to take our leaflets. We even had a few people saying they were going to move banks or didn't want to support Barclays anymore which was wonderful. And a lot of the staff and customers while we were in the bank were laughing and just saying they were confused. What did make me laugh is the staff in the bank turning the escalator off to try and stop us going upstairs which just meant that we walked upstairs instead... don't know what they hoped to achieve there. I'm happy that it seemed to be a success.

I'm looking forward to getting a bit more involved with what XR are doing, especially with more actions where I can talk to people more! Can't say I made any new friends at a more or less silent protest.

What do you think of XR? Have you been to one of their protests before?