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

All those detained are members of the Palestine Action group

The arrests were made after police suspected the group was planning to place a lock on the London Stock Exchange building. Reuters
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Six members of Palestine Action were arrested in the UK on Sunday, suspected of being part of a plan to disrupt the London Stock Exchange.

Police believe the group was planning to cause damage and put on a lock on the building on Monday to prevent the stock exchange from trading. They warned a week of disruption had been planned.

One man has been charged with conspiracy to cause public nuisance after an alleged plot to disrupt the London Stock Exchange and cause “huge economic damage”.

Sean Middleborough, 31, from Liverpool, will appear at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said on Monday.

Five others – three women and two men – were also arrested in connection with the plot and have been bailed pending further inquiries, Scotland Yard said.

The arrests were made in Liverpool, London and Brighton after information shared by the Daily Express, the Metropolitan Police said.

The newspaper said the group hoped to cause “huge economic damage” by climbing on top of two revolving doors at the front of the building, armed with red paint-filled fire extinguishers, before attaching their necks to the glass entrance with 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 allegations come after a two-month investigation during which a reporter posed as a member of the group.

The newspaper claimed to have been in touch with the group’s ringleader, who said on the encrypted messaging app Signal that Monday’s plot was part of a week of action against UK institutions “complicit in Israeli apartheid”.

"These are significant arrests," Det Supt 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."

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Writing on X, Palestine Action said the “campaign to end Israel’s weapons trade remains undeterred”.

“The London Stock Exchange raises billions of pounds for apartheid Israel and trade shares in weapons manufacturers which arm Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people," the group told PA news agency.

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

In another post on X, the group said that the exchange "actively boasts about their support for Israeli businesses".

"The exchange also trades shares in weapons manufacturers who arm Israel's genocide of the Palestinian people," it said.

Updated: January 15, 2024, 12:21 PM