ACTIVISTS staged a weekend of protests to highlight how fossil fuels contribute to climate change.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Brighton launched a “cycle swarm” on Friday night at The Level.

About 100 cyclists rode to the BP petrol station in Lewes Road for a brief blockade.

Then on Saturday, a dozen activists banged drums and handed out leaflets outside Barclays in North Street, which they say is investing in the search for oil and fossil fuels.

But Barclays says it recognises the challenges climate change poses to society and is supporting investment to help the “transition to a low carbon economy”.

XR activists said the cycle swarm is a protest to raise awareness of creating safer roads for environmentally friendly transport and also raised awareness of how petrol and diesel cars cause pollution to the planet.

The group said: “The cyclists comprised young people, teachers, business owners and students, ranging from seven to 70 years in age, people united in their desire to see a world free from oil.”

NHS worker Tom Rakewell said he joined the Saturday protest because climate change cannot be ignored, so XR has demonstrated several times outside Barclays.

He said: “As a group we are not going away. We want to put pressure on the bank to change its policies.

“We want it to stop investing in fossil fuels and to invest in renewable energy instead.”

Helen Murray also joined the demonstration.

She said: “Things are changing fast, perhaps faster than even scientists first predicted. Scientists have said we need to leave coal and oil in the ground.

“So why are banks investing in further exploration of fossil fuels. We are demanding that they divest from those projects and look at alternatives to fossil fuels.”

In a statement Barclays said: “We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.

“We are determined to do all we can to support the transition to a low carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met.

“Our Energy and Climate Change statement published in January this year clearly sets out our approach to carbon intensive energy sectors, and reflects our commitments as a transatlantic bank.

“We continue to develop our green products suite and last year we facilitated £27.3 billion in social and environmental financing across our business including green bonds and renewable financing.”

Pictures by Terry Applin