On Saturday, 3rd of May, a group of 25 anarchists and anti-militarists closed Barclays’ Cardiff city centre branch in protest of the bank’s investment in the arms trade.
The campaigners formed a Radical Bloc on the Trades Council-organised May Day march, breaking from the main route to take action against the bank instead of going to listen to speeches by union officials at the Trades Council’s rally.
A local anarchist and member of the Stop NATO Cymru campaign group said: “We took part in the May Day march to draw attention to the struggles of workers all over the world against exploitation and violent oppression which is exacerbated by arms producers here in the UK.
We targeted Barcalys because it’s a major investor in Exelis Inc. the parent company of the EDO Corporation which is guilty of mass-producing arms to sell to oppressive regimes, exacerbating violent conflict and suppressing legitimate protest. Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd has 5,059,591 shares in Exelis and Barclays PLC has 63,071 shares.
We entered the branch after leaving the May Day march and refused to leave until we had made an impact. Within half-an-hour the management decided to close, depriving the company of a busy Saturday afternoon’s profit through direct action. We sent our message to the public by plastering the front of the building with stickers which gave details of Barclays’ guilt and sent a clear message to the company that we won’t tolerate money from our communities being used to fund war.”
The protest was organised by Stop NATO Cymru as part of an ongoing campaign to oppose the forthcoming NATO Summit in Newport this September.
A member of Stop NATO Cymru added: “We oppose all wars between nations and see NATO, the armed wing of western capitalism, and the companies which manufacture its weapons as being two sides of the same coin. Both murder ordinary people who are forced into conflicts by their conditions and escalate situations like Ukraine’s, where two imperialistic powers are forcing their will over an innocent population, NATO being one of those powers.”
1) For more information on Stop NATO Cymru: network23.org/stopnatocymru
2) For more on opposition to the forthcoming NATO Summit:
3) For more information on Exelis Inc./EDO Corp.: http://www.smashedo.org.uk