Dozens of climate activists have shut down a branch of Barclays in Glasgow’s city centre as part of a protest against the firm’s investments in fossil fuels.

More than 20 members of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group demonstrated outside the building on Bothwell Street on Friday morning, displaying banners demanding the bank ‘clean up their act’.

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A report from the Rainforest Action Network and financial activists BankTrack issued in May found Barclays was the world’s largest backer of fracking and coal energy firms, investing around $85 billion in fossil fuel businesses worldwide.

A spokesman for Glasgow XR said the protest was ‘peaceful,’ however more than a dozen officers remain on the scene while it continues.

HeraldScotland: Activists demand Barclays divest their interests in fossil fuel firmsActivists demand Barclays divest their interests in fossil fuel firms

Activists shut down a branch in central London earlier this year in protest over Barclays’ support of a controversial tar sands pipeline in Canada.

The group said their protest was held to demand Barclays declare a climate emergency, stop exploration in the Arctic for tar sands and divest from all fossil fuels entirely. 

In a statement, Extinction Rebellion Glasgow said: "Barclays is one of the largest providers to the fossil fuel industry in Europe.”

"Unlike many UK banks, Barclays are willing to fund further tar sands exploration and arctic oil and gas exploration.”

"These are some of the dirtiest investments around and they are a clear and present danger to our future."

David Martin, head of corporate relations at Barclays, said the firm "continue to invest in green energy," adding: “We recognise that climate change is an important challenge facing the world today."

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"Barclays is determined to do all it can to support the transition to a low carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met. 

"Barclays has comprehensive criteria and controls in place for our energy related financing. We continue to develop our green products suite and last year facilitated £27.3bn in social and environmental financing across our business including green bonds and renewable financing."