Climate activists in London splashed black dye on the facade of the Bank of England's imposing neo-classical headquarters on Thursday as part of a protest against the finance sector's support of what they say is a climate catastrophe.
Activists, some dressed as jesters, sprayed the dye at the building, known as "the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street", leaving black stains on the main entrance to the building.
"This bank is killing us," read a banner held up by one protester. "No more fossil fuels," read another.
In Paris, activists draped a banner reading "magic money, toxic investments" on the Banque de France building on Rue Croix des Petits Champs. Protesters held smoke flares while others flung paint at the building and danced amid a rain of fake euro notes.
In London, police said they had arrested four people, one for trespassing and three for criminal damage.
The Bank of England declined to comment when asked by Reuters for a response to the action.
"The action today is part of a wave of actions by XR's Money Rebellion designed to expose the role of banks in the climate and ecological crisis," the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion said. The action is being cast by the group as a "Money Rebellion."
The Extinction Rebellion group wants to trigger a rebellion against the political, economic and social structure of the modern world to avert the worst devastation outlined by scientists studying climate change.
It says the Bank of England has failed to be strict enough with commercial banks to stop them funding climate change and wants it to be much tougher with the financial sector.
More fundamentally, the group says the Bank, which it cast as the "Bank of Extinction", was a pillar of an economic model based on infinite growth that prioritised short-term profit over the health of the planet.
The group is targeting private banks too.
"It is not OK that the Bank of England can distribute money to companies that are destroying our planet whilst millions face the destruction of their future because of their actions," said activist Amelia Halls, 22.
"The government is doing everything they can to greenwash themselves when at the same time we have a financial system in this country that is actively financing companies and institutions that are destroying the planet."
The Bank of England was established in 1694. John Soane's majestic Bank of England building was finished in the early 19th century but only the exterior of that remains. The rest was demolished and rebuilt in the early 20th century.