Greta Thunberg detained at London climate protest

The 20-year-old Swedish activist had been at a protest outside a hotel hosting the heads of major oil and gas companies.

Greta Thunberg has been detained by police at an environmental protest in central London.

The 20-year-old Swedish activist was pictured being taken away by police officers and placed in the back of a marked van on Tuesday.

Ms Thunberg had been at a climate protest organised by Fossil Free London outside the InterContinental hotel in Park Lane.

The hotel is hosting the Energy Intelligence Forum, welcoming the heads of major oil and gas companies.

The demonstrators say fossil fuel companies are deliberately slowing the global energy transition to renewables in order to make more profit, highlighting how this year’s UN climate conference president is also the chief executive of an oil company.

The Met Police confirmed earlier that five people had been arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway. It is not clear if Ms Thunberg was among the five.

Fossil Free London organised the protest to disrupt the Energy Intelligence Forum in London. / Credit: PA

Before her arrest, Ms Thunberg addressed journalists outside the hotel, saying: “The world is drowning in fossil fuels. Our hopes and dreams and lives are being washed away by a flood of greenwashing and lies.

“It has been clear for decades that the fossil fuel industries were well aware of the consequences of their business models, and yet, they have done nothing.

“The opposite – they have actively delayed, distracted and denied the causes of the climate crisis and spread doubts about their own engagement in it.”

Dozens of protesters blocked Hamilton Place at both ends with banners and pink umbrellas with eyes painted on, shouting “oily money out” and “cancel the conference”, while others lit yellow and pink smoke flares.

A white fence surrounded the hotel entrance keeping protesters out while police smuggled conference attendees through the crowd of chanting activists and a samba band.

During the demonstration, activists from Greenpeace abseiled down from the roof of the hotel to unfurl a banner reading “make big oil pay”, while a strong wind billowed the message and the protesters against the side of the building.

Maja Darlington, a campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Oil bosses are toasting each other in a luxury hotel and plotting how to make even larger profits, while millions struggle to rebuild after a summer of extreme weather.

“Big oil is profiting from humanity’s loss and those who have done the least to cause climate change are being forced to pay the price.”

The activist said the fossil fuel industry had ‘actively delayed, distracted and denied the causes of the climate crisis’. / Credit: PA

Speakers at the conference include the chief executives of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Norway’s Equinor, the German ambassador to the UK and Graham Stuart, UK energy security and net zero minister.

Mr Stuart has previously said that allowing oil and gas companies to continue drilling the North Sea for resources is necessary for energy security.

Protesters and energy analysts have said any new fossil fuel projects, such as Rosebank which was recently granted consent to begin operations, would have no immediate effect on consumer bills and would mostly be sold abroad.

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