Activists with Extinction Rebellion (XR) have targeted the Barclays branch on North End in Croydon to protest the bank's continued funding of fossil fuel projects.

The protesters staged a symbolic 'die-in' protest, laying down as if dead on the busy street in front of the North End bank branch on Saturday (September 4) in reference to the increasingly deadly impact of the climate crisis.

The action followed a number of similar protests in south west London branches of Barclays, including sites in New Malden, Kingston and Richmond.

Croydon XR said that they were helped by supporters from Croydon Climate Action and Sustainable Thornton Heath.

"The protest was to highlight Barclays role as a huge investor in the fossil fuel industry, and was part of a Nationwide protest by XR, targeting Barclays and HSBC.

"As part of the protest, XR staged a ‘die in’ outside the bank which provoked a lot of interest from passers-by, many of whom weren’t aware of the bank’s toxic investments," a spokesperson told the Croydon Guardian.

Climate groups are increasingly targeting the large banks which fund fossil fuel projects around the world in a bid to disrupt the carbon emissions that the projects cause.

According to a report by the NGO Market Forces earlier this year, Barclays bank are the "biggest financier of fossil fuels in Europe and the seventh-largest in the world", having "financed around US $145 billion in fossil fuels" since 2015 when the landmark Paris Climate Agreement was signed.

The Croydon Guardian approached Barclays for a comment on the North End protest.

A spokesperson offered the following statement:

"We are aligning our entire financing portfolio to support the goals of the Paris Agreement - significantly scaling up green financing, directly investing in new green technologies and helping clients in key sectors change their business models to reduce their climate change impact. By 2025, we will reduce the emissions intensity of our power portfolio by 30 per cent, and reduce absolute emissions of our energy portfolio by 15 per cent.

"Increasing at pace, our capital markets business has already facilitated £46bn of green finance. We are one of the only banks globally investing our own capital – £175m – into innovative, green start-ups. By deploying finance in this way, we are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy and will become a net zero bank by 2050."

The protests arrived just weeks after a landmark UN IPCC report detailing the escalating severity of the climate crisis, which it said was "unequivocal" and caused by human carbon emissions.

On Monday, an open letter co-signed by more than 200 leading health journals including the British Medical Journal published a joint letter demanding urgent action on the climate crisis, from richer nations in particular.

"The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C and to restore nature. Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world," one section of the report read.