Edinburgh bank building targeted by pro-Palestinian activists in red paint protest over arms for Israel

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A Barclays Bank office in Edinburgh’s West End was targeted by pro-Palestinian protesters as part of a series of attacks across England and Scotland.

The building at 11 Melville Crescent had red paint thrown over it and Palestine Action later posted pictures on Twitter showing the results. The group said it had been working with recently-launched climate campaign Shut the System, demanding that Barclays “divested from Israel’s weapons trade and fossil fuels”.

The Barclays office at 11 Melville Crescent after the Palestinian Action protest.  Picture: Douglas Robertson.The Barclays office at 11 Melville Crescent after the Palestinian Action protest.  Picture: Douglas Robertson.
The Barclays office at 11 Melville Crescent after the Palestinian Action protest. Picture: Douglas Robertson. | Douglas Robertson

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Palestine Action also posted images of other Barclays sites elsewhere which had been similarly attacked. It said about 20 Barclays buildings had been targeted.

About five weeks ago, the same group blocked the entrance to defence company Leonardo’s factory in Edinburgh’s Crewe Road North in a demonstration over the war in Gaza. Three people – two women and a man – were arrested and charged by police.

After Monday’s protest against Barclays, Palestine Action posted a picture on Twitter of the Melville Crescent building daubed with red paint and a message on the door saying “Drop Elbit”, a reference to a major Israeli defence contractor.

The comment posted with the picture said: “Activists from Palestine Action and @shut_system targeted 'Barclay's Wealth and Investment Management' office in Edinburgh today. Collectively we took action against around 20 Barclays sites to demand the bank divests from Israel's weapons trade and fossil fuels!”

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In another post, the group said: “Actionists threw rocks marked with the names of Palestinian martyrs at Barclays in Edinburgh, investors in Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems.”

A spokesperson for Barclays told the BBC that the bank "provides vital financial services to US, UK and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies".

The spokeseperson continued: "While we support the right to protest, we ask that campaigners do so in a way which respects our customers, colleagues and property.”

"The defence sector is fundamental to our national security and the UK government has been clear that supporting defence companies is compatible with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations. Decisions on the implementation of arms embargoes to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.”

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