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BREAKING: Filmmaker Jack Harries among 8 arrested as Extinction Rebellion disrupt International Petroleum Week, activists glued to hotel doors
- Filmmaker Jack Harries among eight arrested at peaceful action outside Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel where the International Petroleum Week conference was taking place
- Nine Extinction Rebellion activists took part in nonviolent direct action to disrupt the oil and gas executives entry to the conference to highlight the industry’s deeply immoral and criminal behaviour
- In an attempt to cover up the protestors, security staff erected screens outside the building
From 7.30am on Wednesday 27th February 2019, Extinction Rebellion activists have been causing nonviolent disruption at International Petroleum Week, an exclusive event for fossil fuel companies to network and form new partnerships. Entrance alone costs £2,770 – with additional costs for those who want to attend elite dinners or networking events. Chevron says International Petroleum Week is “one of the key events for the international oil and gas community”.
Filmmaker Jack Harries was among eight arrested at the peaceful action, where activists glued themselves to the glass front doors of the Intercontinental Park Hotel in central London. The protest was targeted at the oil and gas industry leaders attending the International Petroleum Week conference, in which topics such as “unlocking the future growth of oil and gas” were on the agenda.
After failing to pull off activists who had glued themselves to the doors, security staff at the hotel erected screens outside the building in an attempt to cover up the protestors. Security staff attempted to remove protestors with no regard for the fact that their hands were super glued to the glass doors. One activist was tackled to the ground by a member of the security staff.
Despite the general conflict of interests between activists and conference attendees, some delegates expressed support for Extinction Rebellion and confirmed chanting could be heard inside.
International Petroleum Week is – in its own words – “the place where oil and gas operators, clients and investors meet to form new partnerships”. Extinction Rebellion is instead demanding that they respond seriously to the climate crisis, and end their deeply immoral and criminal behaviour.
Today, the lineup included Liam Fox MP, who – according to Desmog UK – “has a long history of being allied to transatlantic groups that fund and spread disinformation on climate change”. The other panellists included representatives from BP, Schlumberger, and Total. It promised discussions on “managing tension between sustainability demands and operational, business return”.
Other discussions today included: “unlocking” new “opportunities” in Africa, “portfolio optimisation” and “leveraging disruption”, and how the sector will need to “adapt to climate change impacts” that it regards as “unavoidable”. There were also numerous opportunities for networking.
Extinction Rebellion activist Sam Knights said: “These companies are destroying our planet. We have to start talking about that. We have to start pointing out, again and again, that their business model is based on the mass murder of hundreds and millions of people. They know this. In fact, they have known this for a very long time. But they refuse to change. They continue to put private profit over human life. The fact that they are still talking about acquiring new fossil fuel reserves at this point in the climate crisis, is not only deeply immoral – it is evidently criminal. We all have a moral duty to stop them.”
Activists are calling on the government to enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
Farhana Yamin, a former lead author of the IPCC and an internationally respected climate change lawyer, said: “I fully support this action against the oil and gas industry. These companies are being subsidised by taxpayers whilst simultaneously destroying our planet and burning our future. They should not be allowed to continue on their current path, which will see warming on a scale that threatens our entire existence.”
The conference is taking place in the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel.
Extinction Rebellion activist Will Skeaping said: “This is not an action solely against the fossil fuel companies. This is a rebellion against a system that is rotten to its core. The hospitality industry is also at fault. Their decision to facilitate this conference is a disgrace. Their decisions have consequences, and we want them to know: we will not allow you to keep on doing this.”
After arrests had been made several Extinction Rebellion activists stayed behind at the Intercontinental Park Hotel to clean their spray chalked messages from the glass front doors. Others headed to West End Central and Holborn police stations to support those arrested upon their release.