Amsterdam police arrest 2 Extinction Rebellion activists protesting against ING

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Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrated at several ING branches on Saturday to draw attention to the bank’s funding of companies that extract and process fossil fuels. Police arrested two protesters in Amsterdam.

According to the AD, activists from around 11 different ING agencies chained themselves to desks, set off a biologically safe smoke bomb and poured oil on themselves. In Utrecht they cordoned off a bank branch and told people it was a ‘crime scene’. The two protesters arrested in Amsterdam had chained themselves to the office building and would not leave, police said.

An ING spokesperson told NOS that the protests went well. However, Extinction Rebellion disagreed. “People have been evicted by the police or given fines,” a spokesperson for the activist group told NOS.

Extinction Rebellion has been protesting ING’s funding of fossil fuels for some time. The group also occupied offices in July and repeatedly protested at the head office in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. Since the climate agreement was struck in Paris in 2015, ING has invested €9 billion a year in fossil fuel finance, according to Extinction Rebellion. This would make ING the biggest funder of CO2 emissions in the Netherlands.

This spring, ING announced that it would stop funding the discovery and exploitation of new oil and gas deposits. According to ING’s business ethics manager, Arnaud Cohen Stuart, these steps followed the recommendations of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

However, the bank still invests money in existing pipelines, refineries, and oil and gas fields. Additionally, according to Extinction Rebellion, the bank has only terminated funding projects. General financing of fossil fuel companies is always possible and these companies can always set up new projects.

ING has said it will not exit the fossil fuels business altogether as it would go too far to completely stop financing oil and gas overnight. “There is no need to meet climate targets and this jeopardizes our energy security of supply and accessibility,” the bank said earlier.

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