Members of the Canterbury public have bombarded the chief executive of Barclays Bank with postcards urging him to disinvest from one of Israel’s major arms companies.
They were prompted by a protest outside the Canterbury city centre branch of Barclays yesterday by members of East Kent Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Faversham & Whitstable PSC, East Kent Justice for Palestinians, University of Kent Palestine Solidarity and others.
The colourful protest attracted huge attention from lunchtime shoppers, many of whom stopped to sign the postcard to Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins. At least 100 postcards were filled in and will be sent en masse to Barclays HQ by the campaigners, and at times there was a queue of people waiting to sign.
Barclays hired three bouncers for the day in order to prevent protesters spreading the word inside the branch. The good-natured protest was warmly greeted by many members of the public, including people who approached to thank the campaigners for their good work.
It was the second time in two months that the branch has been targeted by activists, following an earlier demo in December.
The bank holds large investments in Elbit Systems, which is a maker of drones and other military hardware that was used in Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza last summer.
The postcard sent by members of the public reads:
Dear Antony Jenkins,
Your investments in Elbit Systems are enabling war crimes against the Palestinians. How do you square that with your promise that Barclays Bank will act ‘fairly, ethically and openly’? No one forces you to fund war crimes. Stop doing so.
The front side of the postcards carried a number of images chosen to bring home to Mr Jenkins the brutal consequences of his bank’s choice to invest in Elbit Systems: