One of the world’s most recognizable advocates for climate change, Extinction Rebellion (also known as XR) hosted a peaceful protest against Dutch bank ING in Groningen on Saturday.
Around 20 protestors chained themselves to the entrance of the bank’s branch in Hereplein, Groningen due to ING’s continuous financial support for fossil fuels that affect and damage the climate. The bank’s employees and customers were not prevented from accessing the building.
“ING is actually the sponsor of the climate crisis,” Musetta, a demonstrator at the event on Saturday, told RTVNoord. “There is not a single bank in the Netherlands that invests so much money in new fossil energy projects, to this day.”
According to data from BankTrack, ING spends around €9 billion a year financing fossil fuel projects, by far the most among Dutch banks.
“The climate crisis is here, and this is just the beginning. It is abundantly clear that our current economic system, which is based on fossil fuels, is bankrupt,” said Leo van Kampenhout, a spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion. “We must work rapidly on a new economy that is good for people and the planet. The financial world has an important role to play in this.”
Six of the protestors chained themselves to each other using a lock-on tube, a tube made of concrete or metal that is easy to remove by yourself but immediately locks when someone is pulled.
The protestors set themselves up on the sliding door entrance of the bank, preventing them from closing and forcing bank personnel and customers to see the protestors, and their demands, before entering.
At around 6 p.m., the police stepped in and removed the demonstrators. No arrests were made and according to a spokesperson from the police, the protestors evacuated peacefully.
Extinction Rebellion: fighting climate change with peace around the world
The protest that took place during the weekend was just one of the many projects that Extinction Rebellion hosts in a non-violent manner to combat climate change.
The organization was founded in the United Kingdom in 2018, aiming to raise awareness and fight climate change by hosting peaceful protests, sit-ins, and blockades.
They have now shifted to being a decentralized environmental organization, allowing anybody around the world to brand their demonstration as an Extinction Rebellion event as long as they adhere to the three key goals of the movement.
These points are to tell people the truth about climate change, to force governments to act against environmental issues, and to go beyond politics by establishing a citizens’ assembly line on climate justice that would lead the government when climate issues arise.
Due to their stance and guiding principles, Extinction Rebellion can now be found in 88 different countries and has a total of 1,022 groups committed to fighting climate change around the globe in a peaceful way.
The North is no stranger to Extinction Rebellion
The blockade of ING on Saturday was just one of a number of protest actions Extinction Rebellion activists organized in the North over the previous months. The organization has also established branches in Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe.
Protesting at the front doors of the ING in Hereplein was also done on April 2023, as part of a country-wide sit-in protest against the Dutch bank. They also hosted a ‘Die-in’, where protestors pretended to be dead on the floor due to unresolved climate issues, at the Vismarkt on the 6th of March.
Leeuwarden is no stranger to Extinction Rebellion events. On the 13th of May, they hosted a protest against the agricultural industry, particularly against Campina and Rabobank.
Drenthe has also had its fair share of encounters with Extinction Rebellion. They held one of their distinguished ‘Die-ins’ in De Wolden’s town hall during March 2023 as well as occupied the Emmen city council in a stand against the racist tones of Zwarte Piet in November of 2022.
Future events in the North
Being removed from the ING blockade will not deter the environmental group. They have a number of workshops, events, and protests planned throughout the region as they push to have their demands heard.
Extinction Rebellion Drenthe organized a ‘Die-in’ on Monday in front of the Drents Museum in Assen as the establishment receives sponsorship money from NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij), the Dutch petroleum company.
All three of the northern branches will host training for people wishing to take part in the A12 highway blockade on the 9th of September. The partial block of the highway is a stand against the Dutch government to stop subsiding projects that are harmful to the environment.