The Metropolitan Police arrested six members of the anti-Israel group Palestine Action on Sunday for allegedly plotting to disrupt and damage the London Stock Exchange.
The six are accused of planning to cause “damage and ‘locking on’ to prevent the building opening for trading,” according to police.
The six unnamed suspects, who remain in custody, range in age from 23 to 31. Three are women.
“These are significant arrests. We believe this group was ready to carry out a disruptive and damaging stunt which could have had serious implications had it been carried out successfully,” said Detective Superintendent Sian Thomas.
The plot emerged after a Daily Express reporter infiltrated the group and learned of the plans. According to the paper, “The plan was for two activists, armed with fire extinguishers filled with red paint, to climb on top of two revolving doors close to each other at the main entrance, place a ladder over both their heads, and then chain their necks to it with bike locks.”
The organiser of the disruption reportedly said: “There’s the great chance that you can literally just shut down the London Stock Exchange.
“Obviously people can trade on their phones nowadays [but] there’s going to be a lot of computers in there that people aren’t going to have access to. They could hold hundreds of millions of pounds worth of shares.”
Detective Superintendent Thomas thanked the Daily Express for tipping officers off about the plot on Friday. That information “was instrumental in helping us intervene successfully,” the superintendent said.
In a statement earlier today, Palestine Action tweeted: “Five of the six activists arrested for allegedly conspiring to disrupt the London Stock Exchange have been released.
“One was charged and will appear at court to apply for bail shortly.”