Police end Greenpeace blockade of BP HQ

Police end Greenpeace blockade of BP HQ

Greenpeace BP
Activists from the environmental action group Greenpeace blocked the entrance to British Petroleum's (BP) Headquarters in central London. (Adrian DENNIS/AFP)

LONDON: London police said on Monday (May 20) they had detained all 10 Greenpeace activists who had blocked the entrances to BP's global headquarters to convince the British energy giant to halt oil and gas exploration.

The environmental organisation encased activists in five heavy containers that were manoeuvred into place during the night.

Abseilers also set about installing a banner spelling out "climate emergency" on the building's windows.

Greenpeace banner
Activists from the environmental action group Greenpeace demonstrate outside the British Petroleum (BP) Headquarters in central London. (Adrian DENNIS/AFP)

The protest came ahead of BP's annual general meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, on Tuesday.

Greenpeace wants BP to switch to purely renewable energy or close its operations.

"BP is fuelling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world," said container occupant Paul Morozzo.

"We must stop searching for new oil and gas if we want a liveable planet. BP must clean up or clear out."

Six abseilers could be seen on the outside of the building in plush St. James's Square on Monday afternoon, while a couple of activists sat on top of two containers outside the the main doors.

The containers were decorated with a brick effect covering and images from photographer Gideon Mendel's "Drowning World" project. The boxes, with two activists in each, had food, drink, toilets, lights, books and games inside.


"We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge," a BP spokeswoman told AFP.

"But impeding safe entry and exit from an office building in this way is dangerous and clearly a matter for the police to resolve as swiftly as possible."

London's Metropolitan Police, who initially made four arrests, said all 10 protesters had been detained by late Monday.

"There are no protestors left at the scene although police maintain a presence at the location," the police said in a statement.

The stunt came a month after the Extinction Rebellion climate protests brought parts of central London to a halt.

"We're seeing it as part of the same wave of campaigning and activism right now because people are very concerned about the climate emergency," Greenpeace campaigner Morten Thaysen told AFP at the police cordon.

"There isn't a future in oil. The company has two choices: to go 100 percent renewable or to start winding down the business. All the oil companies need to go in this direction," Thaysen said.

"We don't have the luxury to wait around for them to make these decisions by themselves. The transition needs to start now."

Source: AFP/de