The Ithaca City Court dropped charges of third degree criminal trespassing made against eight members of global environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, also known as XR, on Feb. 27.
On Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 at the Commons, XR Ithaca protested JPMorgan Chase’s financing of an oil pipeline passing through indigenous Wet’suwet’en territory in Western Canada.
Traffic was blocked on Cayuga and Green streets, and members of XR Ithaca occupied Chase Bank on Thursday, which culminated in the arrests of 12 individuals. Four of the arrested were minors and were promptly released to their parents.
The Ithaca protest was part of a larger, nationwide movement to pressure JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest contributors to the fossil fuels industry, into discontinuing its contributions to the industry. Students at the University of California at San Diego staged a similar occupation at a Chase Bank in February, and New York City and Washington state have also seen similar protests.
Other prominent financial corporations, such as BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs, also conceded to similar pressure from non-violent protests, promising to exit “high-risk sustainability-related” investments and committing to climate change-fighting projects by 2030, respectively.
In light of the nationwide protests, JPMorgan Chase announced last Monday that it would reduce its role in developing oil and gas infrastructure in the Arctic and commit $200 billion to “advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.” The multinational bank also said it would join the Climate Leadership Council, an international policy institute promoting “carbon dividends as a climate solution.”