A protest by activists took place on 15th November outside the London HQ of global investment firm BlackRock in solidarity with APIB – Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Association).
The APIB delegation was visiting London as part of their European advocacy tour “Indigenous Blood: not a single drop more” and the previous day had visited the Brazilian Embassy and handed in a “Racist Of The Year” award for President Jair Bolsonaro there.
Two Indigenous representatives from APIB joined the BlackRock protest and spoke about the impact of global investment on their peoples and on the precious environment of Brazil.
In a climate of increasingly relaxed regulation, forest Guardians like Paulo Paulino Guajajara are being in murdered in growing numbers, and illegal logging as well deforestation for cattle ranching, soya production and mining, is accelerating at a time when the Amazon needs greater protection, not less. Brazil’s Space Institute, (INPE) recently reported an 83% increase in Amazon wildfires compared to last year, with more than 72,000 detected. They say that human action is responsible for the increase rather than any environmental or climate related issues this particular year ie fires are being deliberately started as part of commercially driven deforestation.
Friday’s protest lasted several hours with speakers and support from many organisations including Amazon Watch, Stop Ecocide, Action for Bolivia, Animal Rebellion, and Parents for Future Worldwide. Ash was laid outside the doors of BlackRock to signify the burning earth, and as well as speakers there were artist performers, dancers, spoken word artists, and the XR Samba band.
BlackRock security had locked all but one entrance and this, along with the noise, caused significant disruption throughout the day. Staff were leafletted about the role of BlackRock in financing ecocide, deforestation and continuing fossil fuel extractivism.
This was the third such protest in what is becoming a global movement to highlight the often unseen role of huge organisations like BlackRock which is one of the world’s largest investors in deforestation. As an entity controlling funds greater than the GDP of Japan, BlackRock could use its privileged position to move away from unsustainable development and lead the way to deforestation-risk free funds, but it looks like it needs disruption and pressure to do so.
Activists are also calling for a worldwide #BoycottForAmazonia which asks people to stop buying products linked to deforestation.