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Climate demonstrators target Swiss National Bank

A speaker at the climate demo in Bern on Friday Keystone / Anthony Anex

Around 1,500 people gathered in the Swiss capital Bern on Friday to protest the Swiss National Bank’s investments in fossil fuels.

This content was published on August 6, 2021 - 14:30
Keystone-SDA/SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

The demonstration was the culmination of a week of action by Rise Up for Change, a group bringing together activist groups including Climatestrike Switzerland and Extinction Rebellion.

In a statementExternal link published ahead of the Bern protest, Rise Up for Change said that the Swiss National Bank (SNB) continued to invest in oil, coal and gas, “despite scientific evidence” and accused the SNB of holding shares in companies that supported fossil fuels. The group also demanded that the SNB immediately stop “investing in projects and companies that violate human rights and destroy ecosystems”.

The morning saw a flashmob demonstrate outside the SNB offices in Bern, with a symbolic “oil pipeline” on the square in front of the parliament building. The demonstration continued into the afternoon.

Banks in the crosshairs

Last Monday, around 200 climate activists blocked entrances to big Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse in central Zurich to protest investments in fossil fuel projects. Police removed the activists, detaining 83 people. 

Acts of civil disobedience, particularly targeting banks, have become more common in Switzerland in the past few years.

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