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New York, NY – On late Friday afternoon, April 2, during an event held in solidarity with water defenders in Minnesota, who are protesting Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline, an activist with Extinction Rebellion NYC fell at least 15 feet from the side of the JPMorgan Chase Building at East 46th Street and Madison Avenue. The activist sustained injuries from the fall. He was immediately taken by ambulance to a hospital and is expected to recover. At the time of the action, many activists were gathered around the Chase building, holding banners saying “SOLIDARITY,” and chanting slogans such as “Choose People Over Profit,” to condemn the decision of Chase and other banks to fund fossil fuel-related projects. Note: this event was a climate protest event, not an anti-capitalist event, as has been erroneously reported.
The activist was one of millions of people around the world of all nationalities who are protesting the threat of fossil fuels to human life and to life itself, as well as those institutions that support the fossil fuel industry, including financial institutions.
“Because of the criminal actions of a few fossil fuel industry and financial executives,” said Kerith Creo, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion NYC, “ordinary people feel increasingly driven to do unusual actions to oppose a system that is endangering human life and life itself. We hang banners off the sides of buildings and billboards, risking and often inviting arrest, because we need people to pay attention. We do these things because the stakes are so high. A media outlet reporting on this accident – even while misrepresenting the coalition’s goals – said that the activist had ‘failed miserably.’ But it is Chase and other financial institutions that have miserably failed to honor their environmental commitments.”
Big banks have invested billions in climate chaos since the Paris Climate Agreement. Beginning at 3:30 PM on Friday, on the steps of the main branch of the New York Public Library, Extinction Rebellion NYC, part of the worldwide environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, kicked off the nonviolent event to protest these banks. The activists stand in solidarity with indigenous water protectors, who are fighting the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota, and are calling on all banks to #DefundLine3.
The action was also part of the Global Money Rebellion, part of a wave of global actions designed to expose the role of financial institutions in the climate and ecological crisis. The world’s 60 largest banks have funded the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $3.8 trillion since 2016. The action was intended to highlight these investments, which are keeping us on track for a catastrophic 3.5C of global heating by the end of the 21st century.
The protesters marched from the library steps with chants and banners, calling out the “fossil fools.” They then arrived at the Bank of America building on West 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue. Supporters and musicians engaged the crowds in chants, while the amount of fossil-fuel destruction invested by BOA was broadcast over bull horns to passersby and to those inside Bank of America. A banner read “BOA Funds Ecocide.”
A protestor asked, “What does it mean to be the Bank of America when you are funding the destruction of America? What does it mean when you are destroying America’s wildlife, America’s air and water and continuing to destroy America’s Indigenous people?”
Protestors then marched to the TD Bank Building. TD is the top investor in the Line 3 Pipeline. Protestors could be heard chanting loudly “TD represents Total Destruction, Total Denial and Total Death.” The event continued – and concluded – with the biggest and worst offender of all, JPMorgan Chase, the largest investor in fossil fuels, where the incident with the injured activist occurred. Three activists overall were arrested during the action.
A set of photos of this action can be found here.
The four demands of Extinction Rebellion are:
Tell the Truth – Government must declare a climate and ecological emergency.
Act Now – Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Beyond Politics – Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizen’s Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Just Transition – We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and establishes legal rights for ecosystems.