‘Elephant’ takes to Manchester streets to protest against climate change

A climate change charity paraded a model elephant across central Manchester today to address the ‘elephant in the room’ about fossil fuels.

Fossil Free Greater Manchester took to the streets this morning to protest against Greater Manchester Pension Fund’s investment into Fossil Fuels.

The protesters are aiming to make GMPF – a pension fund for various institutions across the county – fossil free in the next two years, as they claim that the organisation has over £1.7billion invested into fossil fuel companies such as Shell and BP.

They today protested outside Greater Manchester Combined Authority in Manchester, where mayor Andy Burnham is based, before moving to St Peter’s Square.

Claire Cummings, who joined the charity in 2018, said: “Andy Burnham needs to stand up and take a stance, he pretends he hasn’t got any opinions on this issue, but he’s had to take a stance on Gaza. 

“Has he got any influence over Gaza? He’s got a massive influence in Greater Manchester, he’s meant to be the Mayor, why can’t he take a stance and say what’s important.

“All they’re doing is completely undermining anything that Greater Manchester is supposedly doing about the climate crisis, which is only getting worse.”

Eearlier this week, West Yorkshire Pension Fund announced it would review its investments and  stop all new investments into gas and oil companies.

The walking elephant, which was operated by two people inside the costume, travelled to the town hall to stand outside a meeting held by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

During this, protestors chanted: “No Shell, no BP, make our pensions fossil free.”

Joan Bennett, a recipient of a GMPF pension, said: “I’m ashamed that my pension and Greater Manchester politicians are giving credence to fossil fuel companies’ claims that they are transitioning away from fossil fuels, even as they expand production.” 

Bennett said that the charity has had a lot of progress with spreading awareness for the issue, adding that their hopes for the protest were to talk to the councillors as she believes all councillors should be aware of where these investments are going.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority was contacted for comment.

Related Articles