Barclays branch accused of thwarting Christian protesters in London

Barclays branch accused of thwarting Christian protesters in London March 28, 2011

A PLANNED protest by a bunch of Christians against a branch of Barclays Bank in central London was thwarted last Saturday when the bank closed its doors early.

Barclays in Tottenham Court Road
According to this report, the protesters – Christians Against the Cuts – planned peacefully to enter the branch and offer biscuits to staff and customers while praying, reading the Bible and singing hymns as a witness against the injustices of the banking system.
But they got there too late. When they arrived at the bank on Tottenham Court Road at 2.00pm, they found the bank already closed.
They then suggested that the early closure was due to the bank “running scared” of Christian protesters. In fact, the bank closed because it had been targeted earlier in  the day by another pissed-off band who staged a sit-down protest and a comedy show.
The protestors were angry overt the fact that Barclays had admitted that it paid just £113m in UK corporation tax in 2009 – a year when it rang up a record £11.6bn in profits.
Chris Wood, one of the Christian protesters, said that he believed the closure of the bank demonstrates:

That Barclay’s are afraid to acknowledge their complicity in an economic system that sees the rich grow richer while the poorest and most vulnerable are faced with unprecedented welfare cuts as a result.

Wood insisted that:

The banks, with their reckless speculation and lending and their encouragement of excessive consumption have created an economic catastrophe that is having a devastating impact on our society.

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  • Neal O

    Nice to read some positive spirited Christian group action for a change. Good on them I say.

  • Newspaniard

    The target was right, pity it was a bunch of looneys with no power that did the targeting. More appropriate would be the tax man making a raid but they are such big cowards that they only go after the little man who hasn’t the ability to defend himself.

  • Walter

    As a free thinker I agree with the comments. The incompetence and greed of the bankers reflect the very worse of a selfish nature. I also know as fact that plenty of bankers go to church without any sense of honesty and fairness.

  • stargraves

    Aye – can’t fault the target – despicable profiteering off the vulnerable to fuel the affluent… Just like the church actually. D’oh!
    And companies like vodaphone too – they had their £6 billion debt written off I believe – how come? Can I stroll into my bank and say – write off my remaining £3000 mortgage please – I can’t be bothered paying you it as it’s such a measly sum.
    I sincerely doubt it!

  • Pete H

    I don’t know why they don’t just get their omnipotent sky fairy to end this recession with a wave of his mighty hand.

  • elainek123

    How much has the Vatican got in Banks, conviently forgotten eh.
    How abut they go to the Archbishop of Canterbury and ask him how much money he has got and how he does not have to pay rates.
    Charity begins at home, with the Church me thinks.

  • Daz

    Yoiks! Bankers or Christians. Tough one to call.

  • “while the poorest and most vulnerable are faced with unprecedented welfare cuts as a result”
    I’ll happily side with the Christians in this instance and condemn the big banks, but can you imagine a bank operating according to “Christian principles”?
    “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” (Luke 6:35)

  • Broga

    I support the christians in this but “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I think Ratzi and his followers, unless I haven’t heard, are still owing £6.3 million to the UK government and this was due on 1st March. He dresses in up market fashion items, lives in a vast palace and enjoys Castel Gandolfo as his residence in the summer. C.of E.bishops live in palaces while, tacitly at least, support the “blessed are the poor” humbug. We have 26 of them, unelected, in the House of Lords, enjoying generous expenses and what is said to be the finest,and tax funded, dining in London. And how many bankers are good christians?
    I see the priest who led Anne Widdicombe to the way of mystery and superstition seems to have had his snout in the jam pot. Encouraging wealthy men to contribute £millions to the Vatican in return for papal honours. Wonder if Widders has any views? She is quick enough to slag off others whom she thinks have been found wanting.

  • GSW

    “but can you imagine a bank operating according to “Christian principles”?” [Robert Stovold]
    No more than I can imagine a religious organisation paying taxes or being polite.
    The bank only paid 0.1% in taxes? Wow, maybe that is why my mortgage interest rates just dropped another 0.5% – could be?
    Meanwhile, the churches still have not paid off on this promise of ‘peace on earth’ although they have been raking in the cash for a few thousand years now!

  • Marcus

    According to the CofE’s own website (link below), it raises over £1000 million a year and in 2008 had “…assets of £4.4 billion…”. It also ‘recovers’ £60 million a year from the Inland Revenue as part of the Gift Aid donations it receives.
    Now, as far as I understand it the good old CofE enjoys tax-exempt status. So while I can empathise 100% with anybody who wants to protest against the greed and immorality of our banks, I can’t help thinking that this lot should be asking some rather awkward questions of their own glorious institution as well. What’s the saying about people in glass houses?

  • Who do they think would have witnessed the ‘witness’? The real movers and shakers or cashiers, personal bankers and customers trying to sort out their finances without hymns ringing in their ears?

  • barriejohn

    I tend to agree with StuartW here. However well-intentioned, does this type of protest actually achieve anything?
    This took my breath away when I read it earlier:

  • barriejohn

    BTW When I read about the earlier “sit-down protest and comedy show” my thoughts went immediately to Ed Miliband for some strange reason!

  • Bank’s v religion, what do they hav in common… Tell u a load of BS to get their hands on your MONEY….

  • Stonyground

    The fact that it seems to be specifically the fact that Barclays have minimised how much tax they pay that these protesters seem to have a problem with raises one or two questions.
    The obvious one which has already been mentioned is that since religious organisations pay no tax at all, they are not really in a position to comment. It is fascinating how often that saying of Jesus about taking the log out of your own eye so that you can see the speck in your neighbours eye can be applied to posts about Christians here and elswhere.
    Another question is why it is taken as a given that you are morally obliged to give up roughly half of your hard earned cash to the government, cash that most of us earned through our own hard work and as such should by default belong to us. I understand that we have to pay taxes, that we get services in return for them, some of which are an essential part of modern life. On the other hand, if I do my part by paying my taxes, the Government has a duty to spend my money responsibly. I’m sure that everyone can think of examples of the Government spending taxpayers money on things that those taxpayers don’t need and have not asked for but are forced to pay for anyway. I don’t think that they are holding up their side of the bargain.

  • MrGronk

    I’m glad to see christians publicly doing something that doesn’t involve bullying gays or whining about how they themselves are being victimised. I’m well aware, of course, that plenty of christians work quietly and humbly for decent causes. Maybe if they were like these guys and were a little less quiet, people wouldn’t associate their religion with bigoted self-pitying idiots.

  • AngieRS

    Stone me. They bleat about how aggressive atheists have a go at them but when it comes to them occupying a bank, that’s ok, they’re there to “witness” the bank, whatever that means, not aggressive at all. Now they bleat about how it was closed.
    Dog’s ways are surely mysterious to behold.

  • Mike

    On the other hand, I wonder what your stance would be if you were one of the share holders in Barclays and received some of that coin as share payouts.

  • L.Long

    I find a lot of this rhetoric weird.
    A bank is making money and paying the ‘legal’ required taxes.
    And this is wrong??Why???
    And where are all the complaints against the idiot government that put those rules that tax the poor heavily and the rich lightly (in relation to income).
    If the banks are breaking the law then turn them in and throw them into jail. If they are not then throw the politicians into jail.
    As far as the church not paying taxes? throw the voters and the politicians into jail for allow that.

  • NeoWolfe

    Well, If the nematodes had showed up with a slogan like, “men’s law’s don’t work,” which I might have expected, I would have joined in the half hearted support. Democracy allows nematodes to vote, and capitalism allows big business to own government.
    The western world has seen their jobs imported to Singapore, Thailand, India, and especially China. Who benefitted, big corporations. In their wisdom, our governments, after they were bent over the kitchen sink by the big money contributer to their political campaigns, find that a population without a job does not pay taxes. They react with austerity measures that hit the middle class yet again with reductions in benefits for which they have been dearly taxed. How long will that last before London or New York becomes the New Cairo? We are about one statement from a new Marie Antoinette, to the effect, “let them eat cake”, before heads will roll again.

  • tony e

    What staggers me is that people in the UK are standing about, scratching their collective heads and saying ‘How can this have happened with the banks?’ If you look at the boards of directors of almost every big company in this country you will see they all have serving or ex mps on them. So do you honestly think they will change things if their collective snouts are in the trough?
    The answer is so simple it’s staring us in the face. It’s all the voters fault. Demographically the people tend to always vote for the same party in the same regions. At the last election as i went to the polling office I spoke to one of my neighbours and asked him who he was voting for. He replied ‘Labour’, I asked him why ‘Cos, I always voted Labour.’ I replied ‘I’m voting SNP, I actually not a SNP voter but the local SNP MP was great for the area, for example I was having problems with litter collection. Despite numerous letters and emails to the previous Labour MP I did not get the common curtesy of a reply.’ ‘When the SNP lad got in he took the case up straight away and got thing done.’ My neighbour replied ‘Yes, but I’ve always voted Labour.’ And it’s that apathy that the MPs rely on.
    If this country truly wants democracy, here is a very simple suggestion. No matter who your MP is, vote for another, any party. When the MP’s realise that the gravy train is running out, then things will happen.

  • Stuart H.

    The killer question to the protestors might be “Where do YOU bank?”
    Funny thing, but though Christian organisations have set up banks and insurance companies – mostly in the 19th century from ethical concerns of the day such as not profiting from booze – most have collapsed and current day Christians won’t use them either.
    I had a mammoth battle with a couple of local charities I’m involved in which are dominated by biblebashers. They mutter about Fairtrade and all that, but actually put their money in financial institutions with ethical investment policies? Couldn’t budge them from arrangement which allowed them to get higher interest rates from banks whose main customers include the arms trade and large clothing companies who use sweatshops.
    Even my Sally Army relatives were totally unaware the Sally Ann actually has a bank with the kind of policies they say they approve of, and were totally uninterested in using it even though presumably the profits would go back into their own church.
    Thyey should either put their money where their mouth is, and lose a bit of dirty money, or STFU.

  • Lucy

    I was in London last Saturday and kept seeing people with huge torture instruments (crosses) made of orange cardboard. Couldn’t work out what they were up to and couldn’t be arsed to ask them as I thought they might start witnessing.
    Thanks for letting me know! Another small mystery explained.

  • No mention of any of the “protestors” praying to their Sky fairy…