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Greta Thunberg at the protest today Lucy North/PA

Greta Thunberg arrested at London oil protest

Thunberg was linking arms and chanting with other activists when she was arrested

GRETA THUNBERG HAS been arrested at a protest outside a central London hotel which was hosting the heads of major oil and gas companies.

Fossil Free London organised the protest to disrupt the Energy Intelligence Forum, which was meeting at the InterContinental London hotel in Park Lane, near Hyde Park.

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

Images on social media showed Thunberg, 20, being led away by police officers and placed in the back of a marked van on Tuesday afternoon.

The Metropolitan Police said a total of 21 arrests were made at the protest.

Before she was arrested, 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.”

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

Mr Stuart has previously said that allowing oil and gas companies to continue drilling in the North Sea 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.

Lauren McDonald, a campaigner against Rosebank, said: “The only reason that they continue to pursue this is for profit, there is no justification for this.

“So, as we head into another round of climate talks, we are demanding that Norway – that wealthy, happy country that is powered by green energy at home – we are demanding that Norway stops putting the brakes on other countries’ energy transitions.

“We are demanding that Norway stops profiteering while others around the world are struggling to pay their bills, struggling to live and struggling to survive in our destabilising climate.”

A statement from the Met, which did not refer to Ms Thunberg, said: “Officers have been on scene since this morning with a group of protesters in the road outside a hotel in Park Lane, W1.

“We have had continued discussions with the protesters and there have been interventions by officers to enable members of the public safe access in and out of the venue.

“Six people were arrested for obstruction of the highway.

“Officers on scene have kept this under constant review and at 12:32 imposed conditions on the group under Section 14 of the Public Order Act to prevent serious disruption to the community, hotel and guests.

“Officers asked the protesters to move from the road on to the pavement, which would enable them to continue with their demonstration without breaching the conditions.

“A number of protesters failed to do so and we have now made a further 14 arrests for Section 14 of the Public Order Act and a further one for criminal damage.

“Officers remain on scene.”

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