12 climate activists on trial for stunt at Swiss bank office

A dozen climate activists are on trial for storming a Credit Suisse office in Lausanne 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.

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.