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12 climate activists on trial for stunt at Swiss bank office

GENEVA — A dozen climate activists have gone on trial for storming a Credit Suisse office in Lausanne, Switzerland, 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.

The defendants are standing trial after refusing to pay fines handed down after the incursion at a Lausanne office of the Swiss bank in November 2018. Inside, wearing tennis dress, the activists whacked tennis balls – an allusion to Credit Suisse pitchman Roger Federer – and urged him to break his connection with the institution.

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.

The bank’s press team did not immediately respond to a call and an email seeking comment.

The Associated Press