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Climate activists occupy BlackRock headquarters on third day of New York protests

The series of protests are taking place around the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the city

Ethan Freedman
Climate Reporter, New York
Wednesday 26 October 2022 18:34 BST
Climate protesters occupy BlackRock HQ throwing black rocks onto floor

Climate activists have gathered inside the headquarters of financial investment firm BlackRock to protest the company’s investment in fossil fuels.

This is the third straight day of climate protests in New York City, led by activist groups like New York Communities for Change (NYCC) and the New York chapters of the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion.

Video shows activists sitting down in front of escalators in the building holding banners that read things like “How dare you plunder the Earth?” and “Your greed = climate chaos.”

The activists say that they’ve spread coal on the floor in front of the sit-in.

BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, has trillions of dollars in assets across many different companies, including fossil fuel companies. The Independent has contacted a representative for the firm for comment.

A spokesperson for the NYPD told The Independent that by noon, the protest had been cleared and 10 people had been arrested.

At 5am on Wednesday morning, protestors also gathered outside the New York home of Scott Nuttall, one of the CEOs of investment firm KKR, to protest that company’s investment in fossil fuels. The Independent has contacted a representative from KRR for comment.

On Monday, activists interrupted an interview of Senator Ted Cruz on The View to protest the Texas Republican’s appearance and ABC’s coverage of the climate crisis. On Tuesday, protestors blocked all lanes of traffic on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, home to many of the city’s wealthiest residents, leading to 15 arrests.

Alice Hu, a climate campaigner with NYCC, told The Independent on Tuesday that these are part of a weeklong series of protests along Park Avenue to highlight “billionaires and corporations for their outsized role in driving the climate and inequality crises.”

The protests also come 10 years after Hurricane Sandy hit the area, bringing widespread devastation and killing more than 50 people in New York alone.

“10 years ago Hurricane Sandy hit New York displacing tens of thousands of New Yorkers,” NYCC tweeted on Wednesday. They added that the climate crisis and housing issues have since gotten worse — and demanded that New York Governor Kathy Hochul “#TaxTheRich for green housing for all.”

“Green housing” refers to the concept of homes and apartments that emit few or no carbon emissions, such as through installing solar panels for energy or eschewing fossil fuels for more climate-friendly heating options like electric heat pumps.

Climate protests have also gone into high gear in the UK, where the activist group Just Stop Oil has done a series of actions to highlight the crisis, including smearing cake on a wax figure of King Charles III, throwing soup at a glass-covered Van Gogh painting in a museum and spraying an oil-lobbying firm’s headquarters with paint.

On Wednesday morning, activists with Just Stop Oil sprayed paint on luxury car dealerships in London.

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