Greta Thunberg detained at Fossil Free London protest


Greta Thunberg has been detained during a Fossil Free London protest.

The Swedish climate campaigner had joined other activists outside the InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane where oil executives were meeting.

The protesters attempted to block access to the hotel by occupying the area by the entrance.

Fossil Free London posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Breaking – Greta Thunberg has just been arrested.”

Images on social media showed the 20-year-old activist being led away by police officers and placed in the back of a marked van.

In a statement, the Met Police said it had imposed conditions on the activists under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, to “prevent serious disruption to the community, hotel and guests”, and had asked them to move from the road and on to the pavement.

It said that “a number of protesters failed to do so”, which resulted in six arrests for obstruction of the highway, a further 14 arrests for Section 14 breaches and one for criminal damage.

Dozens of protesters blocked Hamilton Place, near Park Lane, at both ends. They carried banners and pink umbrellas with eyes painted on, shouting “oily money out” and “cancel the conference”, while some lit yellow and pink smoke flares.

A white fence surrounded the hotel entrance keeping protesters out while police smuggled conference attendees through the crowd of chanting activists.

Fossil Free London’s protest was organised for the first day of the three-day Energy Intelligence Forum – formerly called the Oil and Money conference – where bosses of Shell and Total were due to speak.

Speaking at the rally, Ms Thunberg said: “Behind these closed doors at the Oil and Money conference, spineless politicians are making deals and compromises with lobbyists from destructive industries – the fossil fuel industry.

“People all over the world are suffering and dying from the consequences of the climate crisis caused by these industries who we allow to meet with our politicians and have privileged access to.”

She added: “That is why we have to take direct action to stop this and to kick oily money out of politics.”

During the demonstration, activists from Greenpeace abseiled down from the roof of the hotel with a banner reading “make big oil pay”.

Maja Darlington, from Greenpeace UK, said: “Oil bosses are toasting each other in a luxury hotel and plotting how to make even larger profits, while millions struggle to rebuild after a summer of extreme weather.

“Big oil is profiting from humanity’s loss and those who have done the least to cause climate change are being forced to pay the price.”

Speakers at the conference include the chief executives of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Norway’s Equinor, the German ambassador to the UK and Graham Stuart, Britain’s energy security and net zero minister.

Mr Stuart has previously said that allowing oil and gas companies to continue drilling the North Sea for resources is necessary for energy security.

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