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Extinction Rebellion occupies financial headquarters in Brussels

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Extinction Rebellion occupies financial headquarters in Brussels
Copyright  Meabh McMahon, Euronews
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Environmental protesters occupied the headquarters of two financial institutions in Brussels for several hours on Thursday, to protest against the "role of the banking and finance sector in the climate crisis".

Extinction Rebellion activists say that the banking industry is the engine of a "harmful system that is leading humanity to its doom", arguing that it's an illusion to rely on "infinite growth".

The protesters were also calling for an end to the funding of so-called "ecocide", which means “killing the environment”.

Céléstin, a spokesperson for the environmental movement said: "Although some activists were arrested, the action was carried out with calm and determination, and our message came across clearly: we must urgently end the dogma of infinite growth, one of the main drivers of extinction on our planet."

Fifteen people were arrested, out of more than a hundred people participants.

Michael, one of the activists involved in the demonstration told Euronews that they were protesting on behalf of the banks.

"I don't believe that any of the banks are going to strike or protest. So we are kind of functioning like a body double and doing this protest for them, and striking for them and putting at hold their activity just for a moment," Michael explained.

Another protester, Ray, explained that he felt a responsibility to be there.

"I think you have to be here. It is almost an obligation. This is an existential crisis and anything that anyone can do to put it right has to be done," Ray told Euronews.

Extinction Rebellion is a global environmental movement with the stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse.