Activism

Women stage Suffragettes march to support Extinction Rebellion protesters ahead of sentencing

Those who celebrate the Suffragettes while condemning climate activists are hypocrites, said the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst

Women dressed as Suffragettes outside the Bank of England before marching to Southwark Crown Court in solidarity with the seven women found guilty of criminal damage for smashing the windows of Barclays Bank in April 2021. Image: Extinction Rebellion

Over 100 women dressed as Suffragettes gathered outside Southwark Crown Court on Friday to support seven protesters who smashed windows during an Extinction Rebellion climate protest.

The women were spared jail and handed suspended sentences for smashing the windows of Barclays’ London headquarters to draw attention to the bank’s role in financing the climate crisis.

Actor Juliet Stevenson and Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, addressed crowds at the rally before the hearing.

Drawing parallels between the consequences and vitriol faced by the Suffragettes and Extinction Rebellion, Pankhurst told The Big Issue: “They are both socially marginalised, made fun of, considered to be extremists, and legally silenced, and yet they stand up for justice in the way the Suffragettes did.”

@thebigissue

XR activists who cracked the windows of Barclays London HQ have been spared jail and handed suspended sentences #fyp#london#extinctionrebellion#extinctionrebellionuk#xr#climateaction#barclays#activism#juliettestevenson#pankhurst#feminism

♬ original sound – Big Issue

She added: “I think it’s easy to admire the radical campaigners of the past while at the same time not seeing the parallels with the present, and calling that out, calling the hypocrisy out, is really important.”

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

Known as the “Barclays Seven”, the women’s protest in April 2021 was part of a wider Extinction Rebellion campaign to draw attention to banks financing fossil fuels.

XR protesters outside Southwark Crown Court. Image: Eliza Pitkin

During the protest, which caused damage costing £100,000 to repair, they wore the green and purple colours of the Suffragettes.

They were found guilty after a crown court trial in which five represented themselves.

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

Ahead of the sentencing, protesters marched through central London from Bank station to Southwark Crown Court, singing Suffragette songs and wearing sashes bearing the green, purple, and white of the movement.

As the crowd made its way across London Bridge, smoke flares were set off, before a set of speeches outside the court.

Truly Madly Deeply actor Juliet Stevenson recalled seeing a plaque in parliament honouring the bravery of the Suffragettes.

“I thought: what hypocrites. You locked them up, you beat them up, you called them criminals and terrorists, you force fed them, and now you’re calling them heroines of history – which of course they are,” she told The Big Issue.

“It strikes me that many movements for change like Extinction Rebellion and all those who are fighting for climate protection are called criminals.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians
Pride

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'
Liz Carr
Disability rights

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise
Activism

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise

Back to Black actor Eddie Marsan: 'There aren't any no-go areas in Tower Hamlets'
London

Back to Black actor Eddie Marsan: 'There aren't any no-go areas in Tower Hamlets'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know