The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, was escorted out of an event Thursday afternoon after a group of climate protesters briefly took the stage before he was due to give a speech. He took the stage after a 15-minute delay.
At the Economic Club of New York, protesters stormed the stage holding a banner that read “Fed Is Burning: Money, Futures, Planet” and chanting “Off fossil finance!” Powell, who was on stage, briefly left the event before returning to deliver his speech as planned. Security officials cleared protesters from the room.
Powell’s opening remarks @EconClubNY interrupted by climate protestors yelling “Off fossil finance” pic.twitter.com/LAwZobc2yr
— Elisabeth Buchwald (@BuchElisabeth) October 19, 2023
The protesters were with climate activist group Climate Defiance, which focuses on disruptive direct action through strikes, blockades and mass occupation to raise awareness about fossil fuels.
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Climate activists block Federal Reserve bank, calling for end to fossil fuel fundingRead more
More than a hundred protesters with the group interrupted the White House Correspondents Dinner in May, blocking multiple entrances and forcing attendees to maneuver through a dense crowd.
Earlier this month, activists disrupted an event featuring the US transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg. Activists sat onstage, linking arms, and spoke to the crowd about deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Protesters chanted: “No new drilling, keep your promise!” and audience members were eventually asked to leave the room as police tried to clear the protesters.
Powell’s speech on Thursday was closely watched by economists, who expected him to give clues as to whether the central bank will raise interest rates at its next board meeting 1 November. Interest rates currently stand at 5.25% to 5.5%, the highest in more than a decade. Mortgage interest rates in the US have risen to 8%. The Fed has paused its rate hike twice so far this year, and Powell suggested that further pauses can be expected. He also mentioned rising political tensions across the world and called Hamas’s early October attack on Israel “horrifying”.
“We are attentive to recent data showing the resilience of economic growth and demand for labor,” Powell said, adding that the Fed is “proceeding carefully”.