A “pray-in” at a Toronto bank branch April 9 led to the arrest of nine, including a Catholic nun. Photo by Martin Reis

Nun arrested at Toronto bank protest

  • April 9, 2024

Nine religious leaders, including a Catholic nun, were arrested by Toronto Police following a “pray-in” at a downtown RBC branch April 9.

The protest was against RBC’s continued funding of fossil fuel projects. 

“RBC is fueling a climate disaster,” said Sr. Mary-Ellen Francoeur, who was among the nine charged with trespassing for disrupting operations at the bank branch at Yonge and Gerrard Streets. “We are calling on RBC shareholders to think of future generations and to vote to immediately end funding for new fossil fuel projects and wind down existing funding as soon as possible.”

Those arrested at the pray-in are leaders or members of Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and Unitarian congregations in Toronto. 

Among those arrested was Rev. Bob Paterson-Watt, minister of Woodbine Heights Baptist Church.

“As people of faith we believe we have a moral duty to protect God’s creation,” said Paterson-Watt. “That means non-violently resisting the RBC’s business-as-usual investment in fossil fuel projects that fuel climate-linked fires, floods, droughts and heatwaves, even if that means going to jail.”

RBC was the world’s second largest financier of fossil fuel projects in 2022, according to the Banking on Climate Chaos website. It said in 2022 alone RBC made $36 billion investments in fossil fuels, the site said.

The others arrested were Len Desroches, Anglican Rev. Michael Van Dusen, Suzanne Maziarz, Lyn Adamson, Margaret Rao, Kim Bradshaw and Brooke Lydbrooke.

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