South Africa: Climate Activists, Journalist Ejected From Standard Bank HQ As Anti-Fossil Fuel Protest Turns Chaotic

(File photo)

A protest at Standard Bank's headquarters in Johannesburg on Tuesday descended into chaos when a group of human rights and climate activists, as well as a Daily Maverick journalist, were forcibly removed from the building by security personnel.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion arrived at the offices of Standard Bank -- the largest bank on the continent by assets -- in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Tuesday to call for the bank to stop all investments in fossil fuel projects and redirect the funding to renewable energy.

The protesters entered the bank's headquarters a few at a time so as not to alert security personnel.

Once gathered, the piercing sound of a whistle marked the start of the occupation, which saw protesters converging on the building's reception area, linking arms and breaking into chants demanding climate justice.

While the protest started as a peaceful manifestation of civil disobedience, protesters and private security quickly clashed, and a protester was injured.

Russell Florence, an Extinction Rebellion activist from Eldorado Park, was dropped on his head by security guards when they carried him out of the building, and Florence lost consciousness.

Security workers whisked Florence to the building's medical bay, where he was kept for several hours.

Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom told Daily Maverick on Tuesday, "Standard Bank initiated medical assistance out of an abundance of caution. The person in question has since rejoined the small group of protesters outside of Standard...

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