Renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg has found herself in the custody of London’s Metropolitan Police. The reason behind her arrest? Her active participation in a protest staged outside a lavish five-star hotel in London.
Protesters Converge at the Energy Intelligence Forum
The protesters had converged to denounce a high-profile meeting that critics have branded as “the Oscars of oil.”
The “Oscars of Oil” Event
The Energy Intelligence Forum (EIF), held at the grand InterContinental on Park Lane, brought together influential figures from the fossil fuel industry and government ministers.
Greta Thunberg’s Leading Role
However, this gathering faced strong opposition from environmentalists, with Thunberg leading the charge.
Thunberg Stands Firm Amid Police Presence
Videos capturing the moment show Greta Thunberg being escorted into a police van, her dedication to the cause unwavering as she stood with fellow demonstrators to block the entrances of the hotel.
The “Oily Money Conference”
The event, previously known as the Oil & Money Conference but dubbed the “oily money conference” by its detractors, attracted significant attention.
Thunberg’s Address to Journalists
Before joining the protest, Thunberg addressed journalists, condemning the behind-closed-doors deals supposedly being struck at the EIF.
She accused politicians of compromising with lobbyists from destructive industries, primarily the fossil fuel sector, to the detriment of the global climate crisis.
Direct Action to Disrupt the Event
Thunberg said, “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 went on to say, “The elites of the oil and money conference, they have no intention of transition. Their plan is to continue this destructive search for profits. That is why we have to take direct action to stop this and to kick oil money out of politics. We have no other option but to put our bodies outside this conference and to physically disrupt [it].”
Chanting Against Oil Money
The protesters, armed with banners and pink umbrellas decorated with eyes, chanted slogans such as “oily money out” and “cancel the conference.”
Smoke flares in vibrant yellow and pink colors added to the intensity of the protest. The police cordoned the hotel off, and police officers guided the delegates through the crowd of activists.
Arrests During the Demonstrations
The Metropolitan Police released a statement indicating that their officers intervened to ensure safe access to and from the venue.
This led to the arrests of six individuals for obstructing the highway and an additional 14 for breaching protest conditions imposed under section 14 of the Public Order Act.
The EIF’s agenda included sessions on renewable energy, the pursuit of net-zero emissions, and strategies for balancing climate concerns with shareholder returns.
The conference culminated in an awards ceremony celebrating individuals in the energy sector.
Fossil Free London Organizes Protests
Fossil Free London, a climate campaign group, organized these protests. According to Robin Wells, the organization’s director, events like the EIF offer ample opportunities for the oil industry to influence political processes.
Wells expressed the view that these gatherings should no longer serve as platforms for lobbying politicians.
During the protests, Greenpeace activists made a dramatic appearance, abseiling down the front of the hotel to unfurl a banner with the message “Make Big Oil Pay.”
However, strong winds hindered their efforts to secure the banner at the bottom of the building, leading to a temporary suspension of the mission.
The EIF’s organizer, Energy Intelligence, has yet to respond to inquiries on the matter.
The protests, arrests, and disruption of this high-profile event send a powerful message: climate activists are determined to hold the fossil fuel industry and politicians accountable for their actions, even if it means facing the consequences of civil disobedience.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Liv Oeian. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.