Four people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after climate change activists sprayed the Treasury in central London with
fake blood.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators parked an old fire engine outside the building and a pool of red liquid – said to be 396 gallons (1,800 litres) of water coloured with food dye – lay opposite the entrance.

A police spokesman said: “Police were called at 10.17am to Horse Guards Road. People on a privately owned fire engine had sprayed a liquid at the Treasury building.

“Three men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.”
He added that there were no injuries.

The campaigners said they aimed to highlight the inconsistency between the Government’s insistence that the UK is a world leader in tackling the climate emergency and its funding for fossil fuel exploration and carbon intensive projects.

At least 30 police officers surrounded the fire engine, which had protesters standing on top of it, outside the Treasury building in Westminster. 

Protesters included 83-year-old Phil Kingston from Bristol. Ahead of the action, he said he was a Christian caring for the Earth as God’s creation and he was fighting “with all my being for my four grandchildren in this situation of existential danger”.

Fellow protester Cathy Eastburn, 52, said: “I’m terrified – as things stand my children do not have a future, and that goes for all children alive today.

“Around the world people are already losing their lives and homes because of climate breakdown – floods, droughts, food shortages, more frequent extreme weather events, and so on.”

And she said: “Decisions being made here in the Treasury right now – including huge subsidies for fossil fuels, financing massive fossil fuels projects overseas, airport expansion – have devastating consequences and are incompatible with a liveable future for my children and all children everywhere.”

The protest comes ahead of next week’s International Rebellion when Extinction Rebellion protesters will take action in more than 60 cities around the world.

Extinction Rebellion activists in the UK are urging the Government to “act now to halt biodiversity loss” and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

They staged the protest at the Treasury in the wake of a report by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) which said billions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money supporting fossil fuel schemes
around the world was undermining the UK’s commitment to tackle climate change.

A Treasury spokesman said following the incident: “The UK is a world leader on climate change – having reduced its emissions by 42 per cent between 1990 and 2017, while growing the economy by more than two-thirds.

“In June, we became the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming by 2050. We will continue to build on this proud record.”

UK Export Finance (UKEF), which provides loans, insurance and guarantees for firms operating overseas, gave £2.5 billion to fossil fuel projects between 2013/14 and 2017/18.

The arrests in London come after Climate protesters last week interrupted a crunch council meeting in Glasgow to demand action on carbon emissions.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners staged a demonstration during a meeting of Glasgow City Council’s City Administration Committee as it discussed an action plan to tackle the climate emergency.

Three members of the group stood up in the council chamber for several minutes holding messages saying: “Too little, too late”, “Climate Citizens Assembly now!” and “Zero emissions by 2025”.

It was the second time members of the campaign, which has become famous for its direct action protests in countries across the world, have disrupted council meetings in the city.