Greenpeace stages oil protest outside Downing Street

Protesters locked-in outside Downing Street
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Campaigners chained themselves to an oil-splattered statue of Boris Johnson outside Downing Street to protest against a controversial new drilling site.

“Stop Cambo”

Demonstrators from Greenpeace led a protest of around 40 people, with 16 locked onto barrels and the mock statue of the prime minister while others held banners reading “Boris: Stop Cambo”.

The group called for the government to end the UK’s reliance on oil and to urge Johnson not to sign off on a new drilling permit at Cambo oilfield, west of Shetland. There had been at least three arrests during the protest, with more expected as protesters continue to be cut out of their chains by police.

Greenpeace demonstrators outside Downing Street with a statue of Prime Minister Boris Johnson splattered with oil (Victoria Jones/PA)
Greenpeace demonstrators outside Downing Street with a statue of Boris Johnson splattered with oil (Victoria Jones/PA)

The 90kg statue, created by artist Hugo Farmer, is accompanied by a sign that reads:

Cambo oilfield: Boris Johnson’s monumental climate failure

Read on...

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Johnson’s hands are completely covered in black oil in the statue.

The government looks set to go ahead with the plans. If approved, the site would produce 170 million barrels of oil and generate emissions equivalent to the annual carbon pollution from 18 coal-fired power stations, according to campaign group Stop Cambo.

According to Stop Cambo, 80% of UK crude oil – which is what Cambo contains – is currently exported and sold on the global market.

Greenpeace protest
Greenpeace demonstrated against the Cambo oil field planned for the west coast of Shetland (Victoria Jones/PA)

Philip Evans, an anti-oil campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:

People across the UK are feeling the stresses of a gas price crisis as well as a climate crisis, and the Government acknowledges that our reliance on fossil fuels has left the UK vulnerable and exposed. People are right to feel angry and upset.

Johnson’s failure to act has left us with petrol queues, energy companies going bust, offshore workers unemployed for months on end, and a deepening climate crisis.

Johnson must stop Cambo, and instead prioritise a just transition to renewable energy to protect consumers, workers and the climate from future shocks. If he doesn’t, he will be remembered as a monumental climate failure.

Greenpeace protest
Campaigners from Greenpeace outside Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA)


The Metropolitan Police said activists had locked on to barrels with “complex” devices which were taking time to remove. Met Police Events tweeted:

There are 16 activists locked onto eight barrels at this protest. Those barrels will undoubtedly have complex lock-on devices inside which the activists are attached to. Our specialist removal teams are working quickly to dismantle the devices and reopen roads.

In November, the prime minister will be joining other world leaders in Glasgow at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to discuss how to tackle climate change. The Cambo plans have received widespread criticism. Labour leader Keir Starmer has said the government should refuse the plans, while Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon called on Johnson to “reassess” the licence.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Greta Thunberg aptly, poignantly described the global-warming (non)efforts of faux or neo-environmentalist politicos as just more “blah, blah, blah”. To me, though, she was also saying that, while bone-dry-vegetation world regions uncontrollably burn, mass addiction to fossil fuel products undoubtedly helps keep the average consumer quiet about the planet’s greatest polluter, lest they feel and/or be publicly deemed hypocritical. Meanwhile, neoliberals and conservatives remain preoccupied with vocally criticizing one another for their relatively trivial politics and diverting attention away from some of the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused. (Granted, it appears to be conservatives who don’t mind polluting the planet most liberally.)

      Industry and fossil-fuel friendly governments can tell when a very large portion of the populace is too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and the virus-variant devastation still being left in COVID-19’s wake — all while on insufficient income — to criticize them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable. (In fact, until recently, I had not heard Greta’s name in the mainstream corporate news-media since COVID-19 hit the world.)

      As individual consumers, far too many of us still recklessly behave as though throwing non-biodegradable garbage down a dark chute, or pollutants flushed down toilet/sink drainage pipes or emitted out of elevated exhaust pipes or spewed from sky-high jet engines and very tall smoke stacks — even the largest toxic-contaminant spills in rarely visited wilderness — can somehow be safely absorbed into the air, water, and land (i.e. out of sight, out of mind); like we’re inconsequentially dispensing of that waste into a black-hole singularity, in which it’s compressed into nothing.

      The hope, however, lies mostly in environmentally conscious and active young people, especially those approaching or reaching voting age. In contrast, the dinosaur electorate who have been voting into high office consecutive mass-pollution promoting or complicit/complacent governments for decades are gradually dying off thus making way for voters who fully support a healthy Earth thus populace.

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