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Shell forced to pause shareholder meeting amid climate protest

Oil giant Shell was forced to pause its annual general meeting when protesters took over (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Oil giant Shell was forced to pause its annual general meeting when protesters took over (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Oil giant Shell was forced to pause its annual general meeting when protesters took over.

Chairman 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.

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.

Shell AGM
Demonstrators outside Central Hall in Westminster where Shell was holding its annual general meeting (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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
Protesters accused Shell of profiting from carbon-emitting products that contribute to climate change (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, as Sir Andrew said police would need 20 minutes to clear the room.

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.

Joanna Warrington, from Fossil Free London, said: “We can tackle the climate crisis and the cost-of-living scandal, but Shell is standing in the way.

“It’s pushing ahead with reckless oil and gas projects that would take us far beyond safe climate limits, like the controversial Jackdaw gas field.

“As millions of people struggle to pay bills, Shell rakes in record profits by keeping energy prices high and paying zero tax on its UK oil and gas.

“This Government should be turbocharging investment in renewables and insulation, not handing whopping tax breaks to companies that burn our future for profit.”

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