Six arrested over alleged pro-Palestine activists’ plot to disrupt Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange (PA Wire)
The London Stock Exchange (PA Wire)

Six people have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to disrupt the London Stock Exchange, after being passed information by a newspaper.

Activists from the Palestine Action group were allegedly plotting to “target” the London Stock Exchange on the morning of January 15, causing damage and “locking on”  to prevent the building from opening for trading, Scotland Yard said.

The force added that there was a “suggestion that this was one part of a planned week of action”.

It is believed the group planned to climb on top of two revolving doors at the front of the building, armed with red paint-filled fire extinguishers, before locking their necks to the glass entrance using bike locks.

Other activists would lock themselves together in front of the main and back entrances, while fake bank notes, painted red to represent blood, were fired from “money guns”.

The Metropolitan Police began an investigation after being tipped off on Friday by the Daily Express.

A 31-year-old man was arrested on Sunday in Liverpool on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.

A further five people, all believed to be part of the same alleged plot, were arrested later on Sunday on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage, Scotland Yard said.

A 29-year-old woman was arrested in Albert Road, Brent, north London, and a 23-year-old man was arrested in Voss Street, Tower Hamlets, east London.

Two women, aged 28 and 26, were arrested in Liverpool, and a 27-year-old man was arrested in Brighton, East Sussex.

Detective Superintendent Sian Thomas said: “We believe this group was ready to carry out a disruptive and damaging stunt which could have had serious implications had it been carried out successfully."

He added that he was "mindful of the suggestion that this was one part of a planned week of action" and had been in contact with the City of London Police and other UK forces to "ensure that appropriate resources are in place to deal with any disruption in the coming days.”

The total market value of all the companies trading on the exchange, which is based in Paternoster Square by St Paul's Cathedral, is more than £2 trillion.

It traces its beginnings back to a 17th century coffee house in central London where dealers traded in stocks and commodities.

The Palestine Action group said: "The London Stock Exchange raise billions of pounds for apartheid Israel and trade shares in weapons manufacturers which arm Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people.

“Whilst Britain remains complicit in the brutal colonisation of Palestine, our direct action campaign will not be deterred.”

Several members of the group, which formed in July 2020 and claims to want to shut down arms trade with Israel, have been the subject of legal action in recent months.

In December, eight activists were acquitted of a total 12 charges which included criminal damage, burglary and encouraging criminal damage, the group said, while its founder, Richard Barnard, was convicted of criminal damage for his involvement in action against an Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

Seven activists currently face charges of burglary and criminal damage at a trial in Bristol Crown Court after allegedly entering Elbit’s headquarters in the city.