Civil Disobedience Protest at Citibank HQ Demands End to Fossil Fuel Financing

Rally speech excerpts by Alec Connon, Juan Mancias, and Sandra Steingraber, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus

Summer of Heat is a 12-week-long campaign of non-violent resistance targeting Wall Street banks and insurance companies who make the continued production of fossil fuels possible. Each week of the campaign is focused on a different constituency, with everyone welcome to participate in the protests. The last week in June was focused on the plight of people in the American Gulf South, who already experience the worst toxic pollution from petro-chemical plants and liquefied natural gas or LNG export terminals. People in the Gulf are now facing a deluge of additional LNG projects, with the biggest one known as CP2 that received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as a Trump-appointed federal judge blocked a Biden administration pause on the permit.

Almost 200 people of all ages traveled from Texas and Louisiana to participate in the June 28 protest outside Citibank headquarters in Manhattan, where several were arrested. The 68 individuals arrested at Citibank was the largest number for a single day in the campaign thus far, where a total of more than 200 climate activists have been arrested as of the end of June.

The Citibank action was preceded by a rally at Zuccotti Park near Wall Street, followed by a march with a brass band to the site of the arrests, where activists blocked Citibank’s doors. Those arrested were charged with two misdemeanors and will appear in court later this month. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus who participated in the action, recorded some of the sounds of the protest before her own arrest. We hear first from Alec Connon, coordinator of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition, speaking to those gathered for the civil disobedience action.

[Web editor’s note: This transcript may differ from the audio version due to broadcast time constraints.]

Alec Connon is co-director of Stop The Money Pipeline Network 

ALEX CONNON: We are here to engage in a mass march from Zuccotti Park to the global headquarters of Citibank. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, Citibank has been the world’s largest funder of fossil fuel expansion, driving not only the climate crisis, but environmental racism in communities across the country and around the world.

And so we are not only going to engage in a march today, many of us will be engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience once we get to Citibank’s headquarters. Many of us are planning to risk arrest in order to demonstrate that the climate crisis is an emergency; that it is a moral crisis, and that it is something that people in power need to deal with as if it’s a moral crisis and as if it’s an emergency.

And so, if you’re just showing up and you haven’t been in any of our meetings, and you want to join us in engaging in civil disobedience today, we have you! We will hold you in community. We have a jail support team. We have a legal support team. We have lawyers that are going to take care of you, and so we’re hoping that many of you will engage in civil disobedience to demonstrate the urgency of the crisis and the severity of the crisis. So, if you’re interested in engaging in civil disobedience, join the back of the march, come and find me, and we’re going to jump in and make it happen, because the climate crisis is inextricably linked to the fight for racial justice, for social justice, for economic justice. So we’re here to tell Citibank, Enough is enough! Stop financing fossil fuels! And until you do, we are going to keep shutting down your headquarters over and over and over again!

MELINDA TUHUS: Juan Mancias is the chairman of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas.

JUAN MANCIAS AND CROWD: Forget the Alamo! Remember the Gulf Coast!

JUAN MANCIAS: Because the Gulf Coast is under attack right now. We’re being constantly battered with these LNG’s, with rich man’s welfare subsidies. They’re giving them tax abatements, they’re giving them breaks, so they can start coming out here. Now, you have a criminal who’s running for office. Who’s the criminal here? It’s those fossil fuel industries who don’t have a policy, and the bureaucrats who only listen to the policies and the investigations that the fossil fuel industry provides for them. So, we want due diligence from our elected officials. We want them to know the history of what’s been happening here. There’s been 500 years of genocide toward native people, and tribal erasure is still occurring.

SANDA STEINGRABER: I’m a Ph.D. biologist and by day I work as a scientist for the Science and Environmental Health Network, but today I’m taking a day off so I can act out of my conscience as an individual, because I know a lot about LNG, it’s what I research as a biologist, and today I’m standing in solidarity with the people who are the faces behind the data points, who are being harmed by LNG build-out, which is not only poisoning their communities, but swinging a wrecking ball at the climate.

I never know what’s going to happen, but I do know that I’m trying to be brave, because I’m planning to risk arrest, and whenever I do that I try to let my body be a data point that’s speaking for itself. I’ve done this a few times. I don’t like to do this, I should say that. I would rather let the data speak. I think science should make good policy, but sometimes when they don’t listen to science and people are getting hurt, then we have to do the Martin Luther King/Gandhi thing, because we can’t let people get hurt.

Learn more about Summer of Heat at

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