Barclays bank branch forced to shut by anti-Israel protesters


Anti-Israel activists forced the temporary closure of a central London branch of Barclays bank on Saturday.

Protesters shut down the bank's Piccadilly branch, and entered other branches, displaying banners stating “stop arming Israel”.

Barclays is understood to have had investments in leading Israeli military firm Elbit which builds drones used by the IDF over Gaza.

The London Palestine Action group claimed responsibility for the protests and said the bank was “profiting from Israeli apartheid”.

At the Piccadilly Circus branch activists held a “sit-in picnic”, leading to the early closure of the bank.

Demonstrations also took place in Brighton, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Newcastle and other cities across the country.

The anti-Israel group claimed 15 Barclays branches were “occupied” during the day of action.

A spokesman for Barclays said: "The protests over the weekend were against a number of things in relation to Barclays.

"The well-being of our customers and colleagues is a top priority and we acted quickly to ensure their safety and security in response to the arrival of protestors in branches."

In a further statement the bank said: “Barclays is not an investor in Elbit Systems. The allegations that Barclays is in an investor in the defence industry may stem from our historic ownership of a business formerly called BGI (Barclays Global Investors), an asset management division which did have significant investment positions in defence companies.

“Barclays sold this company in 2009, and has no on-going interest, financial or otherwise, in BGI.”

It added: “Only a handful of branches saw protesters, two protests took place outside and two branches were very briefly entered. Piccadilly was the only office forced to close.”

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