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Three arrested after climate protesters take over Shell shareholder meeting

Protesters gathered both inside and outside the meeting hall (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Protesters gathered both inside and outside the meeting hall (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Three people were arrested after climate protesters disrupted oil giant Shell’s annual shareholder meeting.

The company’s chairman was forced to pause the meeting for two hours when demonstrators took over, with several gluing themselves to chairs.

Sir Andrew Mackenzie asked police to clear the room at Central Hall in Westminster, central London, after repeatedly being interrupted by members of the audience.

Shell AGM
Protesters accused Shell of profiting from carbon-emitting products that contribute to climate change (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

One woman who was led out of the building by police was later seen handcuffed on the ground and crying.

The Metropolitan Police said she had suffered a slight knee injury in a fall and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Three people were arrested outside the hall – two for attempted criminal damage and one for criminal damage – the force said.

The protesters accused the oil company of profiting from carbon-emitting products that contribute to climate change.

“Shell must fall,” the demonstrators repeatedly chanted during the meeting.

They sang “We will, we will stop you” to the tune of the Queen song We Will Rock You as Sir Andrew looked on in silence.

After some time, the chairman said: “OK, thank you. I would like to carry on with the meeting if I may”, but was prevented from doing so by the protesters.

“That was an interesting start to our annual general meeting. I have listened to you for 15 minutes, could you…” he added before being interrupted again.

“I do not want to get to this, but if necessary I will ask you to leave the meeting so we can continue with the annual general meeting,” Sir Andrew said.

Shell AGM
Demonstrators outside Central Hall in Westminster, where Shell’s AGM was taking place (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A little later, he said: “I regret this deeply, but, because you refuse to stop, I have now asked for the police to come and allow us to restore order as part of this annual general meeting.”

The meeting was paused after around half an hour.

The protesters came from several different groups, including Money Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion, Christian Climate Action, Fossil Free London, Shell Must Fall and Stop Ecocide.

They claimed that around 80 demonstrators were in the meeting hall.

Hundreds of protesters also gathered outside the building, holding signs and chanting in the rain.

Lauren MacDonald, a 21-year-old climate activist, told the PA news agency: “I am here alongside many others to call out Shell’s role in climate violence. We simply cannot let Shell go ahead with any more fossil fuel projects.

“Last year, the International Energy Agency told us that if we are to have any shot of a safe, liveable future, there must be no new investments into oil and gas, but Shell is currently trying to push through the Jackdaw gas field. This is a horrible climate-wrecking project.”

She added: “I’m 21 years old and I’m being told that, by the year 2030, we could be seeing significant global food shortages. By that year, I will be 30 years old. I will not allow Shell to take another minute of my life than they already have.”

Riz Choudhry, 40, who represents several groups including Extinction Rebellion, told PA: “We’re here protesting against one of the largest fossil fuel criminals – Shell.

“They’re having their annual general meeting in there, so we’re here to bring awareness to the brutality that they’re doing.

“Our biggest aim is to make people aware of the biggest criminals inside there and the corruption that goes on and the impact they have on our planet. They’re making the world an unsafe place for us to live in.”

After the meeting, Shell said a little over 20% of shareholders voted against its green plans, and a similar number backed an alternative put forward by environmental campaigners at Follow This.

Last year approximately 30% voted for the Follow This option.

Only 4% of votes were cast against the remuneration package for the company’s top managers.