The 50-year-old social worker Roberto Lopez has been interested in the indigenous Sioux of North America for years and has travelled to the USA with his partner many times to visit indigenous reservations. He has successfully rallied against the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
As soon as it became clear that Credit Suisse and UBS maintain business relations with the firms building the pipeline, Roberto and his partner knew they had to do something about it. In order to make the public aware of the human rights violations, they mobilised countless individual activists and, in December 2016, held a demonstration against the credit lines and share packages that CS and UBS had granted to the firms responsible. The media response triggered by this demonstration was small, but it made the STP and other organisations notice the individual activists’ commitment. “The contact with other activists and positive feedback from NGOs gave me the courage to organise a second demonstration in Basel in February 2017,” states Roberto Lopez, looking back.
The picket in front of the UBS headquarters drew dedicated individuals from all over Switzerland and was taken up by all the media.
In April 2017, Roberto managed to mount a third demonstration after news about CS’s leading role in financing and advising the firms responsible for building the pipeline became known worldwide.
This initiative attracted a diverse audience, including activists and political groups. Roberto and his fellow campaigners had thus achieved their goal of informing the public via the media.
According to Roberto, no further protests are planned for the time being, but one thing is clear: “The resistance against CS and UBS is far from over. As long as Swiss banks maintain business relations with the firms building the pipeline, we have a duty to take a stand against human rights violations.”