A 70-strong eco-mob has hijacked a meeting of top Shell executives in central London today by singing their own rendition of Queen’s hit song We Will Rock You, before telling shareholders: ‘We will dismantle you!’
The eco-zealots, led by Extinction Rebellion, were filmed interrupting the company’s annual general meeting (AGM), being held at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, forcing it to be temporarily suspended.
It comes as Shell is due to ask its shareholders to vote on a resolution supporting its climate strategy and rebuff an activist climate resolution, another version of which won 30 per cent of votes at last year’s AGM.
A video today shows the moment a group of protestors disguised as shareholders stand up and begin singing ‘We will, we will, stop you!’, before other members begin delivering speeches, telling the execs: ‘We will make it impossible for you to exist.’
One protestor is seen being pulled by her collar by a man in a face mask before a fellow demonstrator pushes his hand away.
She then shouts towards the stage: ‘You are willfully leading us to disaster, you are a disgrace, Shell must fall!’
The Extinction Rebellion zealots were filmed interrupting the company’s AGM meeting, being held at Central Hall in Westminster, forcing it to be temporarily suspended
Eco-mob protestors unfurl signs at Shell’s AGM in central London, with one reading: ‘Shareholders fund death’
Protestors scale the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, which was hosting Shell’s AGM
Police arrive to Shell’s AGM meeting as protestors continue to sing and chant
A climate activist attends the protest outside Shell’s AGM in central London on Tuesday
One shareholder is heard shouting: ‘Shell forever’, as the eco-warriors continue to read out their messages.
After some time, Shell Chairman Sir Andrew McKenzie said: ‘I do not want to get to this, but if necessary I will ask you to leave the meeting so we can continue with the annual general meeting,’ he added.
He then told the group that he had asked the police to ‘come and restore order’ and remove them from the meeting.
‘You have given me no alternative,’ he added.
The meeting continued to be delayed while dozens of protestors also gathered outside, banging on drums and chanting: ‘Shell must fall.’
Some held up banners reading: ‘No faith in fossil fuels’ as police officers were pictured arriving at the scene.
At least two were seen scaling the building wearing disguises before setting off flares.
Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas also attended the protest (pictured)
One protestor was pictured holding a sign reading: ‘They came, they drilled, they wrecked the planet’, as a Metropolitan Police officer looked up.
Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas also attended the protest.
She share photos of herself in Westminster today, donning a yellow coat and a Ukrainian pin badge.
She wrote: ‘Let’s say it loud and clear. When it rakes in £7.3billion in profits in just the first three months of this year, while planning to spender over £6m a day on climate-busting oil & gas – what Shell is doing is criminal.’
The protesters came from several different groups, including Money Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion, Christian Climate Action, Fossil Free London, Shell Must Fall and Stop Ecocide.
They claimed that around 80 demonstrators were in the meeting hall.
Joanna Warrington, from Fossil Free London, said: ‘We can tackle the climate crisis and the cost-of-living scandal, but Shell is standing in the way.
‘It’s pushing ahead with reckless oil and gas projects that would take us far beyond safe climate limits, like the controversial Jackdaw gas field.
Protestors unfurl banner reading: ‘Guilty of ecocide’ outside the Shell meeting in London on Tuesday
Activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion demonstrate outside Methodist Central Hall on May 24, 2022 in London
Demonstrators outside Shell’s AGM today accused the oil giant of profiteering off the Ukraine war
‘Shell must fall’, reads one yellow sign held up by protestors inside the company’s AGM
The meeting of Shell execs and its shareholders has had to be temporarily suspended
Met police officers try to talk down eco protestors at Shell’s AGM in Westminster
‘As millions of people struggle to pay bills, Shell rakes in record profits by keeping energy prices high and paying zero tax on its UK oil and gas.
‘This Government should be turbocharging investment in renewables and insulation, not handing whopping tax breaks to companies that burn our future for profit.’
As of 12pm, shareholders were seen filing out of the building.
Meanwhile protestors inside were continuing to clap and sing as they began to be slowly escorted out by police officers.
Metal barriers have been put up outside the building as the number of protestors grows into the hundreds.
A Shell spokesperson said: ‘We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view and welcome any engagement on our strategy and the energy transition which is constructive.
‘However, this kind of disruption at our AGM is the opposite of constructive engagement.
‘We agree that society needs to take urgent action on climate change. Shell has a clear target to become a net zero emissions business by 2050.’
Environmental groups have been ramping up their protests in recent months.
At least six Extinction Rebellion eco-zealots were arrested last week after a group stormed a five-star central London hotel, glued themselves together in the lobby and sprayed black paint across the front in fresh anti-oil protests.
Extinction Rebellion activists stage a protest at Methodist Central Hall as they scale the building and set off flares
Protestor tells Shell: ‘Think planet above profit’ as she joins protests in London on Tuesday
Metal barriers were put up outside the Westminster building as the number of protestors grows into the hundreds. (Pictured: One of the protestors)
Disguised in hi-vis jackets, the eco-protesters used ladders to climb on top of the entrance to £350-a-night May Fair Hotel, where they unfurled a banner with ‘End Oil Colonialism’.
Video showed a group of activists lying down inside the building shouting the same phrase, while others held banners outside with the words ‘Justice for Africa’.
The hotel, just a short walk from Buckingham Palace, was hosting the annual Africa E&P Summit and Exhibition.
According to the event’s website, the summit aims to ‘bring together Africa’s upstream industry for a unique event shaped for companies active in Africa’s oil and energy game’.
Representatives from a dozen African governments were attending the event, while speakers include Somalian resources minister Mohamed Hashi Arabey Abdi, President and CEO of Africa Oil Corp, Keith Hill, and representatives from oil giant Shell.
US energy giant ExxonMobil and French petrol firm TotalEnergies are listed as sponsors for the summit, which costs as much as £500 to watch remotely with an online ticket.
Police taped-off an area around the hotel’s entrance during the protest, with Scotland Yard saying some protesters had glued themselves together inside the building and police ‘debonding teams’ are currently attempting to unstick them.
It comes as the UK’s leading offshore energy body today warned that environmental activists could undermine the country’s energy security and hinder its efforts to reach net zero.
The group unfurled a banner with ‘End Oil Colonialism’ across of the front of the May Fair Hotel on Stratton Street
Eco-activists entered a swanky five-star Mayfair hotel as part of an anti-oil protest last week
Protesters managed to get on to a balcony next to the hotel and stayed up there with a banner with the words ‘The Planet Can’t Breathe’
Protests, legal action and publicity stunts by organisations including Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and Greenpeace may deter investment in the North Sea and set back the UK’s efforts to cut emissions, according to Offshore Energies UK (OEUK).
Addressing colleagues at the OEUK’s annual conference, held in Aberdeen, on Tuesday, chief executive Deirdre Michie said attempts by pressure groups to block further oil and gas investment in UK waters would make the country increasingly dependent on other countries for energy, which could include Russia.
Activists have refuted her comments, claiming it is the country’s dependence on fossil fuels that undermines energy security, not the people highlighting the problem.
Ms Michie emphasised the role of oil and gas-derived energy and products for British consumers, noting that emissions are driven by a country’s infrastructure, and not by the source of its fuels.
‘Our conference today follows months of disruption, protests and legal actions involving groups like Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Greenpeace and others,’ she said.
‘It’s no irony to say that we are aligned with their long-term vision of a low-carbon UK, but we do disagree with their approach as to how we get there, because the actions they’ve been taking – headline-grabbing but damaging – are another risk to investor confidence.’
OEUK claims the UK has 32 million petrol and diesel vehicles, 24 million homes reliant on gas boilers, and 35 power stations that use gas to make 40% of the country’s power, which Ms Michie said ‘does absolutely need to change’.
‘But – and this is not an excuse – those changes will take time – so, for some decades to come, much of our energy will inevitably come from oil and gas,’ she added.
Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrating at the May Fair Hotel in London last week. The group were seen holding a sign up saying Justice for Africa
The group hung banners saying ‘End Oil Colonialism’ and ‘Justice for Africa’ from the £351-a-night hotel’s porch and lobby
Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrating at the May Fair Hotel in London. The group were seen outside the hotel after a number of activists gained access to the top of the entrance to the hotel
‘Of course we do have a choice as to where that oil and gas comes from. We could cut production and increase imports, intensifying our reliance on other countries. But, as the Ukraine crisis shows, that’s not a great option.
‘Or we could instead choose to invest in the oil and gas resources in our own backyard.’
Ms Michie claimed that, if pressure groups were ‘to get their way’, it would make the UK more dependent on other countries for oil and gas which would ‘destroy tens of thousands of other jobs’.
‘It would cost our country and consumers billions of pounds in import bills,’ she continued.
‘And here is the irony – it would actually increase global emissions as we would have to import fuels with a higher carbon footprint rather than use what we have produced locally.’
Ms Michie urged politicians, policymakers and pressure groups to work with OEUK in the decades to come.
A spokesman for Greenpeace UK said: ‘It’s our dependence on fossil fuels that’s undermining our energy security, not the activists highlighting the problem.
‘It’s fossil fuels that are giving us budget-busting energy bills, funding (Vladimir) Putin’s war, and fuelling megadroughts and record-breaking heatwaves all over the world.
‘The quickest way to boost our energy security is to fix our energy-wasting homes and make the most of cheap renewables like solar and wind, not drill new oil and gas wells that will take years to develop.
‘The organisation formerly known as Oil and Gas UK has done more than most to get us into this mess.
‘No wonder their solution is to double down on the fossil fuels that caused the problem in the first place.’
A spokeswoman from Extinction Rebellion quoted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said: ‘Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.’
She added: ‘Those protesting for change should take comments like this as a compliment – it means what we’re doing is working and the fossil fuel industry is desperately trying to save face as concern over the climate crisis only intensifies among the general public.’
The activist group claimed that a study last week found nearly half of existing fossil fuel production sites will need to close early if the UK is to keep within 1.5C of warming.
Just Stop Oil members said: ‘It is beyond ironic that Offshore Energies UK seeks to blame climate activists for the UK Government’s energy security failure, when they represent the very industry that has lobbied governments for decades to delay climate action and kept us dependent on toxic oil and gas.
‘Such actions will soon be viewed as criminal and those who have undertaken them will be prosecuted.
‘The Government needs to focus on insulation, demand reduction and renewables as the most cost-effective way of meeting climate targets and reducing UK reliance on fossil fuels that fund wars and cause destitution.
‘It’s a no-brainer and the oil and gas industry can squeal all they like but either the industry dies or we all perish.’