An activist from the Extinction Rebellion smashes a window at HSBC headquarters during a protest in London. Reuters
Extinction Rebellion protesters smashed windows at the HSBC headquarters in London on Thursday morning, the climate activist group said.
The Earth Day protest was staged to draw attention to the banking giant’s links to the fossil fuel industry, activists said.
Nine women took part in the protest, wearing patches with the words “better broken windows than broken promises” in reference to the Suffragette movement of the early 20th century.
A placard hangs on a broken window outside HSBC headquarters in Canary Wharf, London. Reuters
Stickers reading “£80 billion into fossil fuels in the last 5 years” were posted on the windows before they were shattered around 7am.
Extinction Rebellion said that after shattering the windows with hammers and chisels the women sat down and awaited arrest, according to the Independent.
Metropolitan Police told The Independent that nine women were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and remained in custody.
Valerie Brown, the London mayoral candidate for Burning Pink party, was among the prostesters. She said: “Investing in fossil fuels is murder. More and more people can see that clearly. Why can’t you?
“We will not stand by whilst you invest in runaway greed, whilst people’s lives are being shattered by the fossil fuel industries.”
Activists said the protest forms part of their “Money Rebellion” movement against economic institutions taking insufficient measures to tackle the climate crisis and follows a series of similar protests, including one earlier in April at the Barclays headquarters in London.
Police officers detain an activist during a protest outside HSBC headquarters in Canary Wharf, London. Reuters
HSBC has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but protesters argued the pledge was “meaningless without immediate action”.
In a statement, Extinction Rebellion said: “Despite HSBC's pledge to shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050, their current climate plan still allows the bank to finance coal power, and provides no basis to turn away clients or cancel contracts based on links to the fossil fuel industry.”
Europe’s biggest bank recently pledged to stop financing coal by 2040 under pressure from investors. HSBC is among the world’s 15 biggest financial backers of fossil fuels and has provided the industry with more than $110bn (£79bn) since 2016, according to the Rainforest Action Network.
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