‘Oily Money Out’: Protesters scale Intercontinental Hotel as it hosts Shell Conference

Outside Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane this afternoon (October 17),  police officers dragged activists away from a protest led by groups including Fossil Free London and Extinction Rebellion.

All eyes were on two Greenpeace activists, who had scaled the luxury hotel to demonstrate against a Shell Conference, at which CEO Wael Sawan was set to give a keynote speech.

Delegates from BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco were scheduled to speak, as well as minister for energy security and net zero Graham Stuart.

Greta Thunberg, who was in attendance at the protest, spoke at the event and had just been arrested. “I can’t believe it,” several in the crowd said.

In her speech she described “spineless politicians making deals with lobbyists from destructive industries”.

Fossil Free London protesters chanted “Oily Money Out”, flanked by drummers.

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Sustainability Beat’s Scarlett Sherriff and Ria Kakkad spoke to several activists on the ground to find out why they were there:

A scientist named Deborah Schneider, a specialist in biostatics said: “I am here today as part of scientists for XR and we are protesting a congregation of large oil and gas companies of CEOs, CTOs, CFOs who are meeting to make some deals, and we are here to protest”

“My speciality is not directly related to the environment but as a conscientious human being who is aware of some of the data and the facts. That’s what drove me to take action to day”

“We believe that no sustainable future is possible the way that government are burning oil and gas,” she said and advocated for a greater focus on renewable energy.


A student at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Lily, who declined to give her full name said, “I think the fact they’re hosting this conference at this hotel is disgusting.

She said she hoped for policies to advocate against businesses greenwashing, “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make all of these things not possible so that businesses start taking stuff seriously,” she added.

“If you’re funding something or hosting something, you’re participating”

Retired bio-scientist Julian Gannon said, “Spending money looking for oil is not what we should be doing, what we need is green energy”.

He said he would most like the government to impose a “carbon tax”.

“Shame on them!”, he said when asked about Intercontinental Hotel Group’s decision to host the event, “We shouldn’t really be sponsoring the oil companies being funded by banks”

“I think people attending Extinction Rebellion protests had a good impact on making the public aware about what’s happening about the environment.”

He added that he hoped the event would encourage the hotel to rethink things in a future due to the negative publicity.

“I think now we should be a bit more specific about targeting things like this, whereby people are actually spending the money on fossil fuels”

“I think we should be targeting this sort of thing because everyone’s aware of the problem, but people are not really doing anything about it”.

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