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  • Demonstrators lay in a street during a protest of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion at Brussels Motor Show in Brussels, Belgium Jan. 18, 2020.

    Demonstrators lay in a street during a protest of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion at Brussels Motor Show in Brussels, Belgium Jan. 18, 2020. | Photo: Reuters/File photo

Published 10 February 2020

The heavily armed "Intervention Brigade" was sent to the site and at least 17 people, including 4 minors, were arrested according to a police source quoted by press agency AFP.

About a hundred of climate activists invaded United States asset manager BlackRock’s office in central Paris Monday, calling for the fund to pull out of fossil fuel investments.

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Green activists ​​​​​​managed to enter the building and to reach the fourth floor - mostly students from high school and university from the campaign group Youth For Climate Paris-Île-de-France, which organized the action, with the support of Paris' Yellow Vests Committee, Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future​​​​​​.

“This company has a lot of influence in many sectors and we are trying to convey what we are asking for, we want to change this capitalistic system”, Emilia, a 15-year-old Fridays for Future group member, said.

Activists wrote tags on the walls such as “I want to live” or “Murderers” on the walls and blocked the entrance with ropes and rolling office cabinets before riot police arrived.

They also threw away all the awards the company had earned over the years in powerful images.

BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink warned company boards in January to step up efforts to tackle climate change or face increased wrath from investors concerned about the impact of unsustainable business practices on their future wealth.

In his annual letter to CEOs, Fink said his firm would exit investments that presented a high sustainability-related risk, including thermal coal producers, as it participated in what he described as a “fundamental reshaping of finance.”

In comments to local media Reporterre, activists from Youth For Climate said that their initial target was the French bank Societe General, but when they arrived at the site policemen were already waiting for them, so they opted for BlackRock instead.

In a press communiqué released after the action by the Youth for Climate, they also mentioned that BlackRock was likely lobbying the government to pass the highly-contested pension reform that would eventually benefit the firm.

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