More than 100 environmental protesters have staged demonstrations outside the offices of Switzerland’s two biggest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, in Zurich and Basel. In Zurich, police arrested a dozen protesters, who were later released.
The environmental activists blocked the entrance to both the Credit Suisse and UBS buildings, shouting slogans such as: “Agriculture instead of a market economy”, “Compost Capitalism” and “Fossil Banks too big to stay”.
They appear to have been protesting against perceived investments both banks make in environmentally damaging companies or projects. Both banks say they have taken measures to introduce a more environmentally sustainable business model, but not everyone agrees that they are doing enough.
Zurich police said they temporarily arrested a dozen protesters after the group of around 70 failed to comply with a deadline to break up the demonstration. In Basel, there were no reported arrests as the demonstration, involving around 50 people, broke up peacefully.
Switzerland has seen a string of demonstrations this year calling on the government to speed up reforms that would reduce harmful emissions. In June, activists demonstrated against a Formula E race in Bern, which led to a criminal complaint being lodged.
In the meantime, a people’s initiative to hold Swiss companies legally responsible for their business activities abroad – including their environmental impact – looks set to go to a public vote with parliament failing to agree on a counterproposal.