Greta Thunberg and 12 others will appear in court for a plea hearing today, after their arrest during a Fossil Free London protest outside the Energy Intelligence Forum, formerly the Oil and Money conference, hosted at the Intercontinental Hotel, London. A further 13 defendants will appear on later court dates.
Thunberg: oily money out, cops come in
The protest was part of Oily Money Out – a series of disruptions from the 17-19 October against the carbon emissions, political influence, and lobbying of the fossil fuel companies and banks attending the Energy Intelligence Forum:
As the Canary previously reported:
On Tuesday, activists from across Europe travelled to London to join protests outside a major fossil fuel conference. Protesters demonstrated in streets outside the Intercontinental Hotel, where fossil fuel companies and their financiers were meeting for the Energy Intelligence Forum.
As the Canary’s Steve Topple previously highlighted, the forum is “the world’s largest annual gathering of energy companies.” Moreover, Topple noted that guests included “bosses from notorious fossil fuel companies”. In fact, the conference was brimming with speakers from the likes of major climate-wrecking corporations including BP, Chevron, and Exxonmobil.
Meanwhile, Global Witness recently found that between January and March of 2023 UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Climate and Energy Ministers met with fossil fuel companies 54 times. They then proceeded to announce a new UK oil and gas licensing round in the North Sea, and approve the controversial Rosebank oil field.
Fossil Free London: subject to controversial law
So, as profiteering bosses from infamous ecocidal corporations sidled up while politicians did their bidding, activists blocked the doors to the conference. Naturally then, the Met police arrived to arrest the protesters taking direct action against these environmental vandals.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged many of the protesters with breaching the Section 14 order which the force had put in place during the demo. Thunberg was among the activists charged with the public order offence:
— Fossil Free London (@fossilfreeLDN) October 17, 2023
The Public Order Act, of which Section 14 is a part, was recently amended by the controversial ‘Policing Bill’ (Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022) to expand police powers to set legally binding conditions on marches and assemblies. When being voted on in Parliament, this move was described as “deeply troubling” by the UN human rights chief.
“Their profit is our loss”
Joanna Warrington, an organiser with Fossil Free London, said:
Super-rich oil bosses are corrupting our politics. They spend millions lobbying our politicians to stay hooked on their unaffordable dirty fuels, locking us into a future of struggle. Their profit is our loss.
Everywhere temperatures are rising, and so too is repression. The UK Government is trying to shut down free speech and free assembly rather than act on climate, while on the frontlines of the crisis climate justice campaigners are being repressed, as we see in the violent response to protests against Total’s East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline in Uganda. We stand in solidarity with them.
Extinction Rebellion, who took part in and supported the Fossil Free London action, expressed their sadness and shock that Greta and other activists felt forced to put their liberty on the line. An XR spokesperson said:
Fossil fuel companies have convinced governments to put their narrow private interests above our common safety and security.
Young people, like Greta and these other activists, are being forced into this sort of action because they deem it necessary to protect themselves from the accelerating climate crisis. Like people all over the world, they are rising in a fury that is rooted in love. We will all continue to resist.
Featured image and additional images via Fossil Free London
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