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Dozens Arrested as Activists Target Citigroup for Bankrolling Climate Breakdown | Common Dreams

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To kick off a season of climate activism, Summer of Heat campaigners on Monday morning blockaded the entrances to Citigroup’s headquarters in New York City to protest the bank’s role in perpetuating climate breakdown.

The campaigners locked arms and held banners at the doors to the Citigroup offices, blocking hundreds of employees from entering, according to social media posts by Climate Defenders, one of the organizations behind the Summer of Heat. They are targeting Citigroup, owner of Citibank, because the conglomerate financed more fossil fuel expansion than any bank in the world in the eight years after the 2015 Paris agreement was signed. Monday is the first day of a series of nonviolent direct actions the organizations have planned under the Summer of Heat banner.

“The atmosphere is electric as hundreds gather to shut down Citibank’s Global HQ,” Climate Defenders announced on social media. “We are here to demand a future free from fossil fuels.”

“Big banks like Citi must stop financing fossil fuels and funding climate chaos!” Stop the Money Pipeline, one of the other convening organizations, wrote on social media.

Police have begun arresting some of the activists, video and social media posts from Climate Defenders and other organizations show. Renata Pumarol, deputy director of Climate Defenders, told Common Dreams that dozens had already been arrested by 10:50 am ET on Monday, but didn’t yet have an exact figure.

The arrests were expected and didn’t dampen morale among the protesters.

“Arrests are happening now!” Stop the Money Pipeline announced on social media. “Our message is clear: If you keep funding the fossil fuel companies that are disrupting our climate and lives, we will disrupt your ability to do business.”

“Citibank is the largest investor in expanding fossil fuels,” a protestor wearing a lab coat with a Scientist Rebellion badge said as he was being arrested by police. “It is a crime. It is a crime against the planet.”

In support of the action, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) on Monday published an open letter to Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser calling for the bank to stop funding new fossil fuel projects.

“The financial industry must recognize the physical harms and economic risks it is exacerbating by enabling fossil fuel expansion, and rapidly adopt new policies that align with a safer climate future,” the letter states.

UCS plans to hand deliver the message on Wednesday at a “Scientists Speakout” Summer of Heat event outside the Citigroup headquarters, its statement said. That’s just one of many upcoming events that organizers have planned.

“All summer long, we’re going to be shutting down and blockading the headquarters of Citigroup and other banks financing new coal, oil, and gas projects,” Alec Connon, co-director of Stop the Money Pipeline, told Common Dreams. “We’re calling on New Yorkers and people from all over the country and work to join us. The time to hold Wall Street accountable for its role in the climate crisis is now.”

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