LONDON — Climate change activists have vandalized HSBC’s London headquarters, smashing windows in a protest against the bank’s alleged links to the fossil fuel industry.
Nine women from the Extinction Rebellion activist group and political party Burning Pink targeted the building in Canary Wharf, London’s financial district, on Thursday. They used hammers and chisels on the building’s glass windows.
The Metropolitan Police said nine women were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
The protesters said they wanted to highlight the financial sector’s role in the climate crisis. They claimed that HSBC’s current climate plan “allows it to finance coal power” despite the bank’s pledge to shrink its carbon footprint to net-zero by 2050, and called the bank “Europe’s second-largest financier of fossil fuels.”
HSBC said in a statement that it welcomes “meaningful dialogue on our climate strategy, however, we cannot condone vandalism or actions that put people and property at risk.”
It added that it is committed to “phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2040 globally.”
Extinction Rebellion targeted Barclays’ headquarters earlier this month in a similar protest.
The group is known for taking what it calls “non-violent direct action,” which has included protesters gluing themselves to buildings and mass occupation of roads, to draw attention to its causes.