Credit Suisse climate activists found guilty of coercion

Climate activists protest prior to the Credit Suisse general assembly for future without fossil fuels and for climate justice, at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on April 26, 2019. Keystone

Nine climate activists who blocked Credit Suisse’s Zurich headquarters in July 2019 have been given a suspended fine. Zurich District Court found all nine guilty of coercion and eight guilty of trespassing. 

This content was published on May 14, 2021 - 15:37

The court sided with the prosecutor in its Friday ruling. The defence team had unsuccessfully sought an acquittal or even the dismissal of the case. 

Only two defendants agreed to speak during the trial, which took place on Wednesday.  

The nine who were convicted had taken part in a sit-in in front of the bank’s entrance on Paradeplatz in Zurich, the financial hub of Switzerland.  

They were protesting against, in their view, climate-damaging banking activities and to demand that the big banks immediately stop financing coal, oil and gas extraction. 

The activists also placed plant pots and locked bicycles between them. Police had to break the chains and haul the protestors away. They arrested 64 people that day; 51 activists were prosecuted. 

Switzerland has been the scene of large climate protests. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of students marched across the country demanding stronger action on climate change. The financial sector has come under growing pressure to divest from fossil fuels. 

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