Anti-coal protestors target Commonwealth Bank branches

A group of anti-mining protestors shut down a busy Commonwealth Bank branch in Sydney yesterday after staging a sit-in.

Around 12 people participated in the protest at the bank’s George St branch.

At the same time, a small group of protestors set up camp outside the bank’s Martin Place branch.

In Melbourne, one protestor fell from the roof of a CBA branch after abseiling down the side of a Bourke St building.

The protest was organised by 350.org, which is urging the bank to divest from Galilee Basin coal mines and the Abbot Point coal port expansion located near the Great Barrier Reef.

The 350.org campaigner for Sydney, Isaac Astill, said the Great Barrier Reef was under threat due to new coal mine developments.

"The Great Barrier Reef provides 69,000 jobs, it's a $6 billion industry and it's one that will be there forever and ever as long as we preserve the Great Barrier Reef," Astill said.

"Eleven international banks around the world have responded to this campaign and ruled out investing in Abbot Point. Of the big four, CommBank, have become the front runner when it comes to funding Abbot Point."

A Commonwealth Bank spokesman said the bank was also investing in renewable energy projects.

"We also recognise our role in addressing the challenge of climate change, including helping organisations to transition to a low-carbon economy, investing in renewables and ensuring we have robust responsible lending practices in place," he said.

"In that regard we have invested in more than 170 renewable energy projects in the wind, solar, hydro and landfill gas power sectors."

Image: ABC News: Thuy Ong

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