At 14:30 on Monday, 13 activists staged a “die-in” at the Birley Street, Blackpool, branch of the bank, where they raised banners displaying the phrases “Fracker’s Bank” and “Toxic Investors”. Demonstrators played drilling sounds to represent the hydraulic fracturing process of fracking, and spoke to both customers and passers-by about the dangers of extreme energy extraction. Their t-shirts were emblazoned with their very own “HSBC” slogan: “Helping Shaft Blackpool’s Community”. Public response to the action was overwhelmingly positive, with many people expressing agreement about the need to stop fracking.
HSBC are the biggest single UK supporter of the fossil fuel industry, helping the sector raise just under £75 billion between 2010 and 2012. This is almost double the amount mustered by rival banks Barclays and RBS. HSBC also provide corporate banking services to gas company Cuadrilla, which intends to frack in Lancashire despite widespread local opposition.
One of the activists, May McKeith, said:
“Hundreds of thousands of people around the country can’t afford to heat their own homes. But the Big Six energy companies and their banker backers profit from Cuadrilla’s destruction of the countryside and from the way their gas is polluting our world.”