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London: Extinction Rebellion activists vandalize windows of HSBC bank protesting against fossil fuel financing, 9 arrested

"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", a statement by Extinction Rebellion

Activists from Extinction Rebellion, a U.K.-based environmental group with a violent past, smashed windows at the HSBC Bank headquarters in London on the occasion of World Earth Day yesterday. The activists, who were largely female, were wearing goggles and masks, vandalizing windows by smashing them with a hammer.

They were seen talking to the police after smashing the windows of HSBC Bank. A total of 19 windows are thought to be damaged from the Extinction Rebellion protest.

The activists pasted posters and stickers on the windows which read “£80billion into fossil fuels in the last five years” before sitting down and waiting for the police officers to arrive. A total of nine Extinction Rebellion activists were arrested. The group protested against the bank alleging that the bank is financing coal power, a source of pollution.

“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,” Extinction Rebellion said in a statement.

The HSBC bank has said it aimed to be net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2040 globally. However, the protestors say that the pledge was “meaningless without immediate action”.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said, “Police were called at approximately 07:10hrs on Thursday, 22 April to reports of a group of protesters causing criminal damage to a building in Canada Square, E14.”

“Nine women have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and remain in police custody. Enquiries are ongoing.”

London mayoral candidate for political party Burning Pink (a political offshoot of Extinction Rebellion), Valerie Brown, 68, is among the people arrested. She said, “Investing in fossil fuels is murder. More and more people can see that clearly. Why can’t you?”

Just two weeks ago, seven activists from Extinction Rebellions smashed windows at the Barclays Bank in London. This vandalism was done by another all-female group, with all seven women being arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and taken into custody.

Extinction Rebellion is a group that wants to trigger a wider revolt against the political, economic, and social structures of the modern world in order to avert the worst scenarios of devastation outlined by scientists studying climate change. In order to achieve that goal, activists from the group can get in trouble with the law, sometimes wilfully breaking it to make some sort of statement.

In view of such protests, it was reported in January that the U.K. police will be given sweeping new powers to break up protests which bring chaos to the streets. The U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel was drawing up laws to ban guerrilla tactics that disrupt businesses or transport links.

The group was also mentioned in the Greta toolkit which was accidently revealed by so-called environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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