Citibank workers clash with climate activists outside New York office in protest over fossil fuel funding

Twenty four protesters arrested in latest climate crisis demonstration

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 14 September 2023 23:29 BST
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Climate change protesters engaged in heated clashes with Citibank employees after blockading the bank’s global headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Footage posted to social media showed dozens of Extinction Rebellion activists unfurl a large banner reading “Stop Funding Fossil Fuels” as they blocked several entrances to the building in Greenwich St, Tribeca.

In one clip, a female Citi employee is seen attempting to gain access to the building through a crowd of protester.

The woman then ducks under a banner and tries to enter the building’s glass-fronted main entrance, and shoves the protester again as he steps in her way.

“Don’t try to push your way through ma’am,” a security guard can be heard saying as he tries to beckon the woman away from the melee.

The protester is later seen being led away in handcuffs by police.

Images captured by news choppers showed large crowds of Citi employees gathering in the streets around the bank’s offices.

An NYPD spokesman said officers were notified of a demonstration at the bank at 8.50am where around 150 protesters were blocking entrances.

The spokesman said 24 protesters were arrested.

Climate protesters react as a person tries to gain entrance to the Citibank headquarters in New York on Thursday

Activist group Planet over Profit said in a social media post that members had blockaded the entrance to “the planet's No. 2 fossil financer, Citi”.

“1000+ finance bros stuck out of their office, in a huge crowd or circling the building in a confused gyre. This is what happens in 2023 when you finance oil,” the group said.

In a statement to The Independent a Citi spokesperson said: “While we respect the right to protest, activists do not have the right to prevent people from entering our building or customers from entering our branch.

“The activists were given the opportunity to protest peacefully but they chose to continue to prevent people from coming to work. The NYPD responded and restored access to our building for our employees and clients.”

In April, the Banking on Climate Chaos environmental group released a report claiming that Citi was the world’s second largest finance of fossil fuel projects behind only JPMorgan Chase.

The bank had provided $333bn to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2016, the group said.

A woman tried repeatedly to bypass protesters before being led away by security

A coalition of climate activists swarmed several locations around New York this week in coordinated efforts to raise awareness about the climate crisis.

On Wednesday, protesters blocked the entrance to the JRA heliport on West 30th St to highlight  “luxury emissions”.

Six people were arrested during the 90-minute demonstration.

Naked protesters also targeted New York Fashion Week on Wednesday, draping themselves in banners reading “Tell the naked truth about the climate crisis” during The Blonds runway show.

Extinction Rebellion activists last week disrupted the US Tennis Open semi-final between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova when one glued their feet to the floor in a spectator section of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Independent has contacted Extinction Rebellion for comment.

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