Better Without Barclays

If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from this year.

Faith Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, May 2021

The London Rebellion might be over, but we’re still going strong in Oxford, taking the action in the heart of the city. This week we targeted Barclays, who continue to pump billions into new fossil fuel development.

Dates for your diary

  • Thursday, 19 May, 7:30-9pm: All Rebels Meeting (West Oxford Community Centre)
  • Saturday, 21 May, 12-3pm: Rebel against Rivercide (Port Meadow, Walton Well Road)
  • Saturday, 21 May, 10am-6pm: XR stall at Levellers Day (Burford Churchyard)

Volunteers needed

  • Supporters of all kinds (stewards, arts, outreach, and more) for Rivercide action – see below.
  • Volunteers for the stall at the Levellers Day in Burford, particularly the afternoon. Email if you can help. Car-sharing will be arranged if transport is an issue.


XR Oxford shut down Barclays!

Six XR Oxford rebels lock on outside Barclays Bank in Cornmarket. A sign reads:
"Barclays: Europe's Biggest Fossil Fuel Funder. A message to Barclays AGM taking place today: Stop Funding Climate Breakdown. Consumers have power too: Bank with Barclays? Take your money elsewhere!"
Picture by Feng Ho

On the day of the Barclays AGM in Manchester, Wednesday 4th May, XR Oxford blocked access to the Barclays branch on Cornmarket from 8-12am, resulting in the bank being closed for the whole day. 

Barclays is the worst funder of fossil fuels in Europe—the 7th-worst in the world, providing £4.1bn for new fossil fuel projects last year alone. To mark their AGM, XR local groups were invited to carry out actions at branches around the country, while in Manchester, the AGM was significantly disrupted by activists heckling, chanting and glueing themselves to seats.

In Oxford, an initial party arrived at the branch around 7.45, and six amazing rebels locked themselves into lock-on tubes in front of the entrance, willing to risk arrest. When Barclays employees arrived, they were clearly unnerved by the disruption to their routine, and the police were soon called. De-escalators took on the delicate job of talking to the branch manager.

Other rebels had been invited to come in support from 8.30, and from then there was a growing presence of banner-holders, solidarity sitters, and leafleters. We did some excellent outreach, opening eyes to what Barclays do with their customers’ money, and suggesting better companies to bank with.

Two rebels locked on to each other
Picture by Feng Ho

The branch was due to open at 10am, and we let the police and the staff know that we were planning to leave at midday. The police spoke to the locked-on rebels a number of times, informing them of the offences for which they could be arrested, but then seemed to disappear. We later learned that they had gone to keep an eye on the XR livestream of the action from the comfort of their squad car!

As 10am came and went, it became clear that no action was going to be taken, and outreach continued until the agreed end time. At 12, customers who had been told we would be leaving then returned, only to find Barclays had given up for the day—poor customer service which angered at least one customer more than our action had seemed to!

This was the first time XR Oxford has undertaken an arrestable action on home turf. We got fantastic press coverage: front page and a livestream from the Oxford Mail, plus a piece in BBC News South.

Check whether your bank is funding the climate crisis at, and find out how to invest in the planet instead.

Two rebels with a banner reading "Up to their necks in oil - this bank fund climate chaos"
Picture by Feng Ho

I wanted to say what you’re doing with XR is great, and I imagine sometimes it might feel like it isn’t having an impact, but I can tell you that it has had a genuine, concrete impact on my choices this year.

XR Oxford supporter

Rebel against Rivercide – SAturday, 21 May

Come along to our protest and gathering by the river on Port Meadow (southern end, Walton Well Road). Find out more about river pollution and the tragic consequences for wildlife & ecosystems. Picnic & swim, paddle & protest!

Red Rebels will process through the streets of Oxford, starting at the National History Museum and arriving at the riverbank about 12.15pm, where they will be met by a flotilla of swimmers, kayakers and others. Inspired by January’s impressive gathering organised by Clean Our River Thames (CORT) with #EndSewagePollution Mid-Thames Group and in celebration of the recently achieved Bathing Water Status for Wolvercote Mill Stream, we also want to mark Earth Overshoot Day.

Confirmed speakers so far include Annelise Dodds MP, James Fry (Oxford Mayor), local councillors and Ashley Smith (Windrush Against Sewage Pollution). George Monbiot, who presented the Rivercide documentary, is unable to attend, but gives his support to the action.

Accessibility information: Ground is grassed meadow with a dirt path from Port Meadow South Parking, Walton well road but access may be possible by wheelchair from Binsey Lane by footpath but footpaths are unpaved and could be uneven.

Can you help?

We need:

  • Stewards to help keep the event safe.
  • Red Rebel supporters to follow us and do outreach as we walk through town
  • A strong XR presence at the river to take care of our gazebo, hold the space, talk to and welcome the public, link with other river pollution groups who join the event
  • Someone to be in charge of the PA and someone who can be a MC and introduce the speakers
  • Photographers and filmers so we can Tweet and publicise our event far and wide
  • Any XR ARTS people who feel inspired to set up an arty activity!
  • Any other offers and suggestions of help

Please email:


Looking for something to watch tonight? YOUTH v GOV is now on Netflix. It’s the story of 21 brave youth activists battling the US government in court to save their future. These children are powerful advocates for their cause. It’s a story of loss and hope, in equal parts enraging and inspiring.

In love and rage,

The XR Oxford Crew