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Greta Thunberg detained at protest disrupting oil summit

Fossil Free London organised the protest to disrupt the Energy Intelligence Forum.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been detained by police at a protest outside a central London hotel, which was hosting the heads of major oil and gas companies.

Fossil Free London organised the protest to disrupt the Energy Intelligence Forum, which was meeting at the InterContinental London hotel in Park Lane, near Hyde Park.

The demonstrators say that fossil fuel companies are deliberately slowing the global energy transition to renewables in order to make more profit, highlighting how this year’s UN climate conference president is also the chief executive of an oil company.

Images on social media showed Thunberg, 20, being led away by police officers and placed in the back of a marked van on Tuesday afternoon.

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

Earlier, five people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway.

Before her arrest, Ms Thunberg addressed journalists outside the hotel, saying: “The world is drowning in fossil fuels. Our hopes and dreams and lives are being washed away by a flood of greenwashing and lies.

“It has been clear for decades that the fossil fuel industries were well aware of the consequences of their business models, and yet, they have done nothing.

“The opposite – they have actively delayed, distracted and denied the causes of the climate crisis and spread doubts about their own engagement in it.”

Dozens of protesters blocked Hamilton Place at both ends with banners and pink umbrellas with eyes painted on, shouting “oily money out” and “cancel the conference”, while others 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 and a samba band.

Greta Thunberg joins protesters from Fossil Free London outside the InterContinental in central London
Greta Thunberg joins protesters from Fossil Free London outside the InterContinental in central London (Lucy North/PA)

During the demonstration, activists from Greenpeace abseiled down from the roof of the hotel to unfurl a banner reading “make big oil pay”, while a strong wind billowed the message and the protesters against the side of the building.

Maja Darlington, a campaigner at 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, UK energy security and net zero minister.

Police remove an activists during the protest
Police remove an activist during the protest (Lucy North/PA)

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

Protesters and energy analysts have said any new fossil fuel projects, such as Rosebank which was recently granted consent to begin operations, would have no immediate effect on consumer bills and would mostly be sold abroad.

Activists from Fossil Free London
Protesters are demanding that oil elexutives remove themselves from national politics (Lucy North/PA)

Lauren McDonald, a campaigner against Rosebank, said: “The only reason that they continue to pursue this is for profit, there is no justification for this.

“So as we head into another round of climate talks, we are demanding that Norway – that wealthy happy country that is powered by green energy at home – we are demanding that Norway stops putting the brakes on other countries’ energy transitions.

“We are demanding that Norway stops profiteering while others around the world are struggling to pay their bills, struggling to live and struggling to survive in our destabilising climate.”

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