12 greens on trial for playing tennis inside Swiss bank Credit Suisse


World, Europe

They were against the bank investing in fossil fuels. Why tennis? There’s a Roger Federer connection

Lawyers Christian Bettex (left) and Antonella Cereghetti (centre) arrive at the hearing to defend 12 activists of the Lausanne Action Climate (LAC) collective at the opening of their trial for storming a Credit Suisse office in Lausanne in November 2018 and playing tennis inside the office. (AP)

Geneva: A dozen climate activists have gone on trial for storming a Credit Suisse office in Lausanne, Switzerland, and playing tennis inside, as 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 USD 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 e-mail seeking comment.