On 11 March 2011, the Platform against the BBVA bank of Bilbao held a gathering and a protest outside the BBVA shareholders’ meeting held in the Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao. Both were very successful. Participation in the protest was high and the action was carried out at the entrance of the thieves’ cave (as it has been labelled by many during the protests) without any incidents.
During the action, two activists managed to evade the police control and spill red paint representing the pain, death and destruction caused by BBVA by financing projects and industry that cause huge disasters. The activists managed to remain in the pool of blood for a long time until they were taken away by the ertzaintza (Basque police) to the Deusto police station.
The Platform did not manage to communicate directly to the shareholders the message of a Kurdish activist who was present in Bilbao specially for this, but they did manage to communicate the message by other methods. They criticised the new step taken by BBVA to reduce the participation and the expression of those who might criticise its policies during their AGMs. The case in question involves BBVA in the financing of a reservoir in Kurdistan in collaboration with Garatibank after buying 25% of this bank last November. The day of the protest and action has the added bonus that this same week (14 March) is also the International Day Against Reservoirs and so the activist also wanted to criticise BBVA’s financing of other reservoirs such as those in the Chilean Patagonia (currently stopped), and in Nayarit (Mexico), as well as many other projects with a high environmental impact.
The Platform highlighted the latest research and information about the financing of armaments by BBVA which places BBVA as the largest financial backer of weapons in Spain, having invested 1 billion Euros in weapons and nuclear and cluster bombs since 2006. The platform also denounced the hypocrisy of BBVA which brags about its corporate social responsibility and signs ethical treaties which doesn’t fulfil.
During the gathering, constant reference was made to the increasing and constant support for banks such as BBVA, while the rest of society suffers the economic recession and its consequences. The Platform also denounced the interference of BBVA in education, through various programmes and scholarships while, once again, its lack of ethics and the priority of its economic interests over morality are obvious.
The Platform is preparing new actions, campaigns and protests.