Protesters gather outside the TD Bank at Port Place mall in Nanaimo. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Group behind February Highway 19 blockade near Courtenay occupies TD Bank in Nanaimo

Extinction Rebellion organized a march, occupation and demonstration Friday

A short occupation at TD Bank in downtown Nanaimo shut down bank business at the end of the workday Friday.

Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo organized a march, occupation and demonstration to draw attention to the financial industry’s investment in fossil fuel production.

The same group was responsible for the February Highway 19 blockade at Exit 117 (Courtenay).

Protesters met at Diana Krall Plaza, marched to the TD Canada Trust at Port Place shopping centre and remained there until closing time at 6 p.m. Bank management closed teller services early because of the occupation, but customers continued to use the ATM vestibule.

“Our intention today wasn’t to shut the bank down. We saw that this might be something that could happen … but our goal today was actually to just reveal some of the truths about where TD Bank’s investment is,” said Deraek Menard, spokesperson for XR Nanaimo.

According to a press release sent out earlier in the day, Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo is asking TD Bank to stop financing expansion of fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure. XR also wants TD Bank to commit to phase out fossil fuel financing in a time frame in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 C.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo protesters join in on global climate strike

“We’re not going to sit by idly while major financial institutions in this country are taking us down a path that not only is putting us in an economically precarious position … but we’re also pushing for it because our futures are on the line here,” Menard said.

He said the occupiers were hopeful of talking on the phone with TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani. That didn’t happen by closing time, and the protesters left the bank and continued their demonstration outside with performance art.

A TD Bank regional spokesperson was not available for comment as he was travelling.


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Protesters occupy TD Bank at Port Place Shopping Centre on Friday evening. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

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