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Case Against Greta Thunberg And Greenpeace Activists Dismissed

Greta Thunberg and four other activists have been aquitted of public order offences by a judge at Westminster Magistrates Court today. The five were on trial following arrests at a protest against a major oil and gas industry conference held at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Mayfair last year.

The defendants, Greenpeace activists Jeff Rice, 57, of Nottinghamshire, Pete Barker, 59, of Powys, Fossil Free London activists Christofer Kebbon and Joshua James Unwin, and Ms Thunberg, were among dozens of protesters arrested by Metropolitan Police officers while peacefully protesting at the 2023 Energy Intelligence Forum.

All were charged with failing to comply with a condition imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act. District Judge Laws ruled that the prosecution could not prove that the Section 14 conditions imposed on the protest were clear and reasonable.

Maja Darlington, Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: Today’s verdict is a victory for the right to protest. It is ridiculous that more and more climate activists are finding themselves in court for peacefully exercising their right to protest, while fossil fuel giants like Shell are allowed to reap billions in profits from selling climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

“The prosecution of Greta and other peaceful protesters reflects a government that cares more about bolstering the profits of oil bosses than fighting for a livable future for all of us. Instead of cracking down on climate activists, the UK government should force the oil industry to stop drilling and start paying for the damage they are causing to our planet and everyone who lives on it.”

Greenpeace UK and Fossil Free London members are waiting to meet the defendants outside Westminster Magistrates Court. Yesterday morning, the two groups demonstrated in solidarity outside the court, with activists holding banners reading ‘Make Polluters Pay’ and placards of top bosses at fossil fuel corporations, including Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan, that read ‘the real climate criminals’.

During the mass demonstration at the Energy Intelligence Forum in October, two Greenpeace climbers abseiled from the roof of the hotel and unfurled a 30m long banner bearing the phrase ‘Make Big Oil Pay’. They then hung above demonstrators with hand banners bearing the slogans ‘People Before Profit’ and ‘Make Big Oil Pay’.

A further 21 people who took part in the same demonstration, including supporters of Extinction Rebellion, are due to appear in court on later dates.