Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has joined an environmental protest outside a London hotel where oil executives are meeting.
The 20-year-old was among protesters disrupting a major annual meeting of industry leaders from Shell, Total, Equinor, Saudi Aramco and other oil giants.
Organised by the group Fossil Free London, protesters attempted to block access to the three-day Energy Intelligence Forum at the InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane, which got under way on Tuesday.
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.
Mr Stuart has previously said allowing oil and gas companies to continue drilling the North Sea for resources is necessary for energy security.
“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.”
Protesters gathered with banners and shouted “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.
Ms Thunberg added: “We cannot let this continue. The elite 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. And we have to do that every time, we have to continue showing them that they are not going to get away with this.”
Five people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway and taken into custody, the Metropolitan Police said.
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Last month, the controversial Rosebank offshore development was approved by regulators despite warnings about the climate damage of new fossil fuel projects.
Located 80 miles west of Shetland, it is the UK’s largest untapped oil and gas field.
The UK government says more oil will add to energy security, though the majority is expected to be sold to Europe and then reimported as refined products.
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.”
Written by: Newsroom