LONDON (AP) — Climate change protesters were dragged away by security guards at oil company Shell’s annual shareholder meeting in London on Tuesday after activists tried to storm the stage and caused major disruption at the event.
Shell chairman Andrew Mackenzie was unable to start the meeting for more than an hour as dozens of protesters stood up, chanting and singing “Shut down Shell” and “Go to hell, Shell.” Several attempted to run onto the stage, but they were stopped by security guards who carried them out of the room at London’s ExCel conference center.
The activists, which included members of Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, say Shell and other fossil fuel firms are making record profits at the cost of the environment.
Like other oil companies, Shell posted bumper profits this year as global oil and natural gas prices soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In February, Shell said its annual profits for 2022 was a record $39.9 billion.
That drew public anger in the U.K., where millions of households and businesses have struggled to cope with soaring energy bills.
“Shell is continuing to drill new oil and gas fields here in the U.K. and around the world in some of the most biodiverse regions in the Philippines and in the Niger Delta,” said Carina Manitius, 27, a protester from the group Fossil Free London. “So we’re here to say business as usual cannot continue and we’re going to shut you down.”
A spokesperson for Shell said it respected people’s right to express their opinions, but “protesters have shown that they are not interested in constructive engagement.”
“Shell has a clear target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 and we believe our climate targets are aligned with the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change: to limit the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels,” the company said in a statement.