PROTESTORS took over the public part of a city centre bank on Saturday lunchtime during a series of demonstrations.

Extinction Rebellion, the organisation behind the major disruptions that have brought parts of London to a standstill for the last fortnight, made its presence felt in York today.

It promised it will stage further actions in the northern city.

A couple of hundred people took part in the demonstrations and march with a coffin that went from York Minster to both HSBC and Barclay Banks in Parliament Street via Coney Street. 

One of the organisers said: "Today we managed to mobilise a lot of people to come out to show they care about this. 

"We got people on the street to realise what the banks are doing.

"We achieved what we wanted to do today.

"It is just the first step.  It is an ongoing proces.  We are not going to stop."

Extinction Rebellion is campaigning for major changes to national and international economies and lifestyles because it believes the planet and humankind is heading for large scale extinction through climate change. 

Several of those who took part in the York action had been in the major demonstrations in London. 

The York action began by joining in an international die-in at 12.05 before marching to York Minster where they prayed for the planet. 

Then they processed to St Helen's Square for a short series of presentations before marching via Coney Street to HSBC in Parliament Street, where they staged a second die-in. 

They presented bank management with an honesty plant and a list of actions they want the bank generally to do.

They tried to do likewise at Barclays Bank, but were not allowed in.  However, they were able to hand over a second honesty plant with a second list of actions.

They targeted banks because of their role in financing the fossil fuel industry. 

Merry Dickinson, co-coordinator of Extinction Rebellion York, said: ‘We live in a system that prioritises profit and short term gains over our living planet and life itself.

"Today we mourned all the life needlessly lost to this brutal and exploitative system, and all the life and futures that will be lost if we continue on our current path.

"This action was filled with love and grief, two things that we must not shy away from in the coming years as the climate catastrophe continues to increase and cause further destruction.

"We must embrace these feelings, and do everything within our power to prevent further suffering whilst recognising the role our society has played in causing this potential collapse of our planet and ecosystems.’

Patrick Barrett, member of Extinction Rebellion York, said: "Today we took action to mourn the lives already lost and those yet to be due to climate and ecological breakdown.

"Coming together with hundreds of people of all ages and walks of life to stand up and make our message heard was undeniably empowering, and we will continue to collectively demand action until our voices are heard and action is taken."