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Greta on trial

Trial begins for Greta Thunberg and Greenpeace activists over Mayfair oil conference protest
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Hundreds of demonstrators including Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg gather in front of a Mayfair hotel to protest against the influence of the fossil fuel industry on UK and global climate politics.

Main image: Hundreds of demonstrators including Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg gather in front of a Mayfair hotel, October 2023, to protest against the influence of the fossil fuel industry on UK and global climate politics. © Chris J Ratcliffe / Greenpeace

Five activists will appear in court today (01 Feb) alongside Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg after they were arrested for public order offences while peacefully protesting at a major oil and gas industry conference held at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Mayfair last year.
 
The trial at Westminster Magistrates Court is expected to last two days, after which a verdict will be handed down.

Greta Thunberg, Greenpeace activists Jeff Rice, 56, of Nottinghamshire and Peter Barker, 59, of Powys and Fossil Free London activists Christofer Kebbon and Joshua James Unwin will all appear in court after pleading not guilty to breaching the Public Order Act in November 2023.

Arrested at peaceful protest

The activists were arrested by Metropolitan Police officers while attending a peaceful protest organised by Fossil Free London at the 2023 Energy Intelligence Forum.

Most of those arrested, including those on trial today, were charged with failing to comply with a condition imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
 
A further 21 people who took part in the same demonstration, including supporters of Extinction Rebellion, are also due to appear in court on later dates.

‘The disconnect is alarming. Greenpeace activists are on trial today for peacefully protesting against Big Oil’s pernicious influence on our politics. Meanwhile, Shell executives are celebrating making billions from selling climate-wrecking fossil fuels. 
 
‘The prosecution of Greta and other peaceful protesters reflects a government that cares more about bolstering the profits of oil bosses than fighting for a livable future for all of us. Instead of cracking down on climate activists, the UK government should force Shell and the rest of the oil industry to stop drilling and start paying for the damage they are causing to our planet and everyone who lives on it.’

MAJA DARLINGTON
Campaigner at Greenpeace UK

’Make Polluters Pay’

Greenpeace UK and Fossil Free London will demonstrate outside Westminster Magistrates Court this morning in solidarity with the defendants, with activists holding banners reading ‘Make Polluters Pay’ and placards of top bosses at fossil fuel corporations, including Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan, that read ‘the real climate criminals’. 
 
During the mass demonstration at the Energy Intelligence Forum in October, two Greenpeace climbers abseiled from the roof of the hotel and unfurled a 30m long banner bearing the phrase ‘Make Big Oil Pay’. They then hung above demonstrators with hand banners bearing the slogans ‘People Before Profit’ and ‘Make Big Oil Pay’.

‘Super-rich oil bosses are corrupting our politics. They spend millions lobbying our politicians to double down  on unaffordable and dirty fuels, locking us into a future of struggle. Their profit is our loss.
 
‘Everywhere, temperatures are rising and  repression is close behind. The UK criminalises peaceful climate activists like Greta whilst rolling out the red carpet for climate criminals in Mayfair hotels. Fossil fuel corporations are most responsible for the climate crisis, and we will continue to hold them to account no matter what the state throws at us. We have to. Because nothing is worse than losing everything.’

JOANNA WARRINGTON
Organiser with Fossil Free London

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