Climate change protesters stage a “die in” at local bank

Members of Climate Action Rhode Island rally in a “die-in” at the Chase Bank branch on Thayer Street in Providence Janury 31, 2020. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Climate activists stage what they called a “die-in” at the Chase Bank branch on Thayer Street in Providence Friday, calling on the bank to end support for the use of fossil fuels.

About ten protesters walked inside the bank carrying mock tombstones, but marched out after a few minutes at the urging of police.

“Each one of the participants’ gravestones illustrate the death and destruction that is happening from climate change,” said Kendra Anderson of Climate Action Rhode Island, and a candidate for state senate from Warwick.

“No more gas, no more oil. Keep your poison in the soil,” chanted the protesters.

“I just sold my house in West Virginia where franking dominates,” said Susan Kelley of Cranston, who said she was about to bank the proceeds from the sale. “I had no idea Chase was such a big player,” said Kelley. “I was going to give them my $71,000 today. I’m not,” she said, to cheers from the protesters. “It’s very important what you’re doing, and you changed my mind,” she said.

“This is a climate emergency, and we are all here to take action and we ask you to take action too. One thing you can do is divest from banks like Chase and move your money to banks like Washington Trust that do not support fossil fuel investment,” said activist Jen Long.

The climate group staged a similar protest at a planned ribbon-cutting for the bank branch January 18, but the event had been canceled previously due to “an internal scheduling conflict”, reported Patch and UpriseRI.com.

“We are committed to use renewable energy for 100% of our global power needs by the end of 2020 and to facilitate $200 billion in clean financing by 2025,” said JP Morgan Chase Vice President for communications Carolyn Evert in a statement.

“Also, we recognize the complexity of climate change issues and actively engage with a diverse set of stakeholders to understand their views. We have a significant amount of work underway to further build upon our efforts on climate-related risk and opportunity and we look forward to sharing more later this year,” Evert said.