3 hours ago
Greenpeace staged a protest at BP’s central London offices this morning using giant metal crates to block main doors – with die-hard activists locked inside.
The five windowless containers were craned into position overnight, blocking entrances to the energy giant’s HQ in St James’ Square, Westminster.
The volunteers inside say they have supplies to last all week, as well as loos, books, board games and TV box sets – including Game of Thrones and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Meanwhile, some of the activists clambered over neighbouring rooftops to abseil down the front of the building and unfurl a banner reading “Climate Emergency”. Others have chained themselves to railings on the side.
One of the container protesters, Paul Morozzo, told the Standard: “It’s cramped and dark in here and my buddy snores like a rhinoceros but it’s comfortable enough. We’re planning to stay as long as we can. It’s small in here but we are pretty determined.”
BP staff on their way into work spoke to protesters about the Paris Agreement targets while one office worker said: “You can’t just expect people to stop using oil overnight.”
One frustrated BP executive on a Santander hire bike shouted “thanks very much” at protesters as he was turned away at the police cordon.
The protest comes on the eve of BP’s annual meeting in the wake of ten days of action by Extinction Rebellion which shut down much of central London over Easter
Greenpeace is demanding BP ends exploration for oil and gas and switches to investing in renewable energy.
The action comes after weeks of climate marches throughout the capital by environmental group Extinction Rebellion.
Police have cordoned off part of the square and a spokesman said: “Officers are currently on scene at the venue. There have been no arrests and no road closures.”
A BP spokeswoman said: “We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge, 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.”
A spokesman for Greenpeace said that by 8am police had attempted to clear the area of pedestrians but had not made any arrests.
The blockade comes ahead of BP’s AGM with shareholders this week, and volunteers have set up a camp to attempt to keep the building closed for the next seven days.
In a statement released on Monday the organisation said: “BP has bowed to pressure from shareholders by backing a motion at tomorrow’s AGM asking the company to demonstrate how it is aligned with the Paris climate agreement. But BP plans to expand its oil and gas production at a time when it needs to be dramatically reduced.”
It also demanded “that BP immediately ends all exploration for new oil and gas switches to investing only in renewable energy.”
It said they should otherwise “wind down its operations entirely and go out of business.”
Mr Morozzo added: “For too long, BP and the oil industry have paid lip service to climate action while lying and lobbying against it behind the scenes and spending billions scouring the world for more oil and gas. The reality is that BP’s whole business plan is a heavy bet against our hopes to avoid a climate catastrophe and must change.”
According to Greenpeace’s research, BP is outspending other oil giants on lobbying campaigns against climate action and spent 16 billion US dollars (£12.6 billion) adding to its oil and gas reserves in 2018.
Greenpeace said only 500 million dollars (£392.8) was invested in alternatives to fossil fuels.
At 8.14am, police were only allowing employees from other businesses to pass through.
An employee from BP told the Press Association: “We don’t know what’s happening. I’m thinking to go home because it will take the police a while to get the protesters abseiling off the building.”
Another employee added: “I’ve been told to go home. The rest of IT are all going home.”