Occupy Philly, in partnership with the Earth Quaker Action team, marched this afternoon on PNC Bank at 15th and Walnut and their headquarters at 16th and Market.
According to the protesters, PNC Bank promotes itself as a green institution but is actually the number one American financier of mountaintop removal coal mining and is also spending money on fracking. “PNC represents everything wrong with banks today,” said Zachary Hershman of Earth Quaker action. “Corporations, banks and companies are taking advantage to make money from a broken system at the expense of our lives.”
Hershman led the protesters in chants as they marched and, at each stop, ticked off facts about the hazards of mountaintop removal, fracking and the transgressions of PNC.
At Hershman’s prompts, protesters staged a theatrical “die-in” in which they collapsed en masse on the street outside each branch and pretended to be dead, spurring curious looks and laughter from passersby, who whipped out smartphones to record the action. “I hope they’re getting paid for this,” one schoolgirl said, while another woman complained that the march detoured her bus route: “They should’ve done it earlier, at 11 or something, not when people are trying to get home from work.”
The act of “mass nonviolent theater” was meant to symbolize those actually killed by the effects of hazardous environmental practices. “All these people here represent hundreds with birth defects and cancer,” Hershman said at one point, gesturing to the protesters lying on the ground. “They represent the thousands in Pennsylvania dying from drinking water from their own streams.”