12 climate activists on trial for stunt at Swiss bank office


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GENEVA (AP) — A dozen climate activists have gone on trial for storming a Credit Suisse office in Lausanne, Switzerland, and playing tennis inside, part of a protest against the bank’s investments in fossil fuels.

In a trial billed as the first of its kind in Switzerland, the environmentalists from the “Lausanne Action Climate” group entered the courtroom Tuesday in suburban Renens with a number of supporters on hand outside holding up placards and chanting.

The defendants are standing trial after refusing to pay fines handed down after the incursion at a Lausanne office of the Swiss bank in November 2018. Inside, wearing tennis dress, the activists whacked tennis balls - an allusion to Credit Suisse pitchman Roger Federer - and urged him to break his connection with the institution.

A verdict is expected Monday.

The group says Credit Suisse is one of the top banks worldwide to invest in fossil fuels, making available more than $7.8 billion to nearly four dozen companies that are “extreme” users of dirty fossil fuels and multiplying 16-fold its financing for coal from 2016 to 2017.

Credit Suisse said in a statement that it “is seeking to align its loan portfolios with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and has recently announced in the context of its global climate strategy that it will no longer invest in new coal-fired power plants.”

It added that while it respects freedom of expression, it does not tolerate unlawful attacks on its branches.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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