London police on Monday said 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 organization encased activists in five heavy containers that were maneuvered into place at 3am.
Abseilers also set about installing a banner spelling out “climate emergency” on the building’s windows.
The protest came ahead of BP’s annual general meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, yesterday where it was to face two shareholder resolutions related to climate change.
Management has supported one of the proposals, and said it would begin issuing specific reports on how BP’s investments are aligned with the Paris climate accord.
Greenpeace wants BP to switch to purely renewable energy or close its operations.
“BP is fueling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world,” container occupant Paul Morozzo said. “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’ Square on Monday afternoon, while a couple of activists sat on top of two containers outside 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. Greenpeace said its volunteers had enough food and water to last a week.
“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 reporters. “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 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,” Greenpeace campaigner Morten Thaysen said at the police cordon. “We don’t have the luxury to wait around for them to make these decisions by themselves. The transition needs to start now.”
About 40 activists from the Sierra Club, Extinction Rebellion and Stand.Earth on Monday descended on BP’s US headquarters in Denver, Colorado, demanding a meeting to discuss their concerns about oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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