Greta Thunberg has been arrested in London after joining hundreds of climate protesters at an oil industry summit.
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The Swedish climate activist was arrested after taking part in blocking the entrances of the InterContinental Park Lane, the venue for the Energy Intelligence Forum (EIF), which brings together fossil fuel executives and government ministers.
Video clips posted to various social media platforms show the moment when Thunberg was arrested. She wore a badge that read “Oily Money Out” while calmly listening as two police officers spoke to her and restrained her. She was then taken to a van and placed inside.
The Met Police have said they arrested 14 people under the Public Order Act to prevent “serious disruption to the community, hotel and guests”.
— Attentive Media (@AttentiveCEE) October 17, 2023
— Fossil Free London (@fossilfreeLDN) October 17, 2023
Breaking: @GretaThunberg has just been arrested protesting in London
She was among hundreds of protesters outside the Energy Intelligence Forum (a conference formerly known as Oil & Money) where many senior oil and gas execs are speaking today pic.twitter.com/CwrWSDwG1c
— Emily Gosden (@emilygosden) October 17, 2023
“Officers asked the protestors to move from the road onto the pavement, which would enable them to continue with their demonstration without breaching the conditions,” the police said in a statement (per The Independent)
They continued: “A number of protestors failed to do so and we have now made a further 14 arrests for section 14 of the public order act and a further one for criminal damage.”
Prior to joining in the protest and being detained, Thunberg addressed journalists and 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.”
She continued: “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. The elites of the oil and money conference, they have no intention of transition.
“Their plan is to continue this destructive search of 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].”
The event – formerly known as the Oil and Money conference – brings in business and policy leaders to “debate and shape sustainable solutions to the energy challenges of the 21st century”.
Those set to speak at the event include CEOs of oil giants such as Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Norway’s Equinor along with the German ambassador to the UK and Graham Stuart, UK energy security and net zero minister.
The protest was organised by the climate campaign group Fossil Free London. The group’s director, Robin Wells, described the conference as an event “at which bigwigs are schmoozing politicians, including our elected representatives”.
“It’s been going on for years and we think it shouldn’t any more, because these events are just a constant opportunity for the oil industry to lobby our politicians and ensure they are able to continue to corrupt our political processes,” she said.
Wells had also previously said: “The main purpose of protesting this forum is to make it clear that the industry is not welcome to come to our city, is not welcome to schmooze our politicians, is not welcome to profit at the expense of the collective survival and the health of the one home that we all share.” (per The Independent)