Climate campaigners protested outside two Reading town centre banks and the local council’s offices yesterday, calling for urgent action to reverse climate change.

At 11am on Monday, August 31, Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists from Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell begun their demonstration outside Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) offices, demanding that the council takes more urgent action to reduce air pollution.

They then marched on to continue the demonstration outside branches of Barclays and HSBC on Broad Street, which are the two biggest European investors in fossil fuel projects.

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XR Reading spokesperson Gillian Fletcher said: “Fossil fuel companies need banks, but banks don’t need fossil fuel companies.

“We’re calling on the banks to switch their investment from dirty fossil fuels to the clean energy sources of the future.”

Local activist Dr. Kani Varshneya added: “We are what we eat but we are also what we breathe. We extract fossil fuels and burn them outside, then inhale their noxious gases and damage our internal organs. It is cyclical destruction and we have to break this cycle.”

RBC declared a climate emergency in February 2019 and pledged that Reading would become a net-zero carbon emission town by 2030.

But XRR says the council is unlikely to meet that pledge without significant funding from central government, for example to insulate older housing stock.

Last week, Extinction Rebellion demonstrators from Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham took to walkways above M4 and the A329(M) on Friday, August 28 with banners that included messages such as ‘no future in fossil fuels’ and ‘we want to live’. READ MORE: Berkshire Extinction Rebellion campaigners take banners to major roads

This came as part of a series of UK-wide coordinated campaigns by the environmental campaigners, leading up to demonstrations in major cities which will call on the government to speed up its response to climate change.