Climate activists protest against Barclays’ sponsorship outside Wimbledon gate

The demonstration has been organised by Money Rebellion, an arm of Extinction Rebellion (XR).

Climate change activists have gathered outside Wimbledon’s first gate to protest against the tournament using Barclays as a sponsor.

A small group stood by a large pink dodo statue in sunny SW19 holding signs that read “Shame set and match” and “Wimbledon and Barclays don’t make a love match”.

The demonstration has been organised by Money Rebellion, an arm of Extinction Rebellion (XR), but supporters outside the tennis tournament were from a range of organisations.

Rachie Ross holding up signs outside of the Wimbledon gates
Rachie Ross holding up signs outside of the Wimbledon gates (Victoria Jones/PA)

Reverend Helen Burnett, 63, from Christian Climate Action, told the PA news agency that the group is present because Barclays is sponsoring the tournament.

“We want to raise awareness that Barclays are one of the biggest fossil fuel investors in the banking industry,” she said.

“We need the financial market to withdraw from investing in fossil fuels if we’re going to have a chance at not being as dead as dodos.

She made clear that the group have “no intention” of entering the tournament, that they have had no issues with Wimbledon security and that the demonstration has been “facilitated and agreed” with the police.

“Unfortunately this does not normally draw the attention that Just Stop Oil (JSO) draws,” she told PA. But she went on to say that she can only do what she is “comfortable” with.

“I’m not here to judge what other people choose to be the right tactics to use,” the reverend added.

The pink dodo
The pink dodo (Victoria Jones/PA)

Rachie Ross, 55, of the same organisation, told PA that JSO are “on the radical wing” of the same fight and make more low-key demonstrations like theirs “look very moderate”.

“At the end of the day there won’t be an inhabitable world to play tennis on,” she said.

“While men, women and children are watching people throw balls about in the global north, men, women and children in the global south are already suffering.”

Keith Bartlett, 72, a local Wimbledon resident who volunteers for the Wandsworth branch of XR, called the sustainability section of the tournament’s website “total greenwashing”.

“How can they possibly have any credentials when they are using Barclays bank as a sponsor?” he added.

The group handed out leaflets and tried to engage members of the public in conversation, moving off the road whenever a car was allowed past the barrier.

On Wednesday, three JSO supporters invaded Wimbledon’s Court 18 in two separate protests and threw orange-coloured confetti and jigsaw puzzle pieces onto court.

Two men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

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