Greta Thunberg pleads not guilty to public order offence after arrest at climate protest

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has denied a public order offence after being arrested at a protest in London.

The 20-year-old from Sweden was arrested during a demonstration near the InterContinental Hotel in Mayfair on 17 October as oil executives met inside for the Energy Intelligence Forum.

She pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to breaching Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 by failing to leave the highway and continue the protest on the pavement.

Greta Thunberg arrives at court to throng of photographers (AP)
Greta Thunberg arrives at court to throng of photographers (AP)

Thunberg confirmed her name and date of birth, but her address in Stockholm was not read out in court due to concerns over alleged threats she has received. She was seen laughing and smiling as the hearing took place.

The campaigner and four other Fossil Free London protesters were granted unconditional bail before their trial on 1 February at the City of London Magistrates Court.

A group of Greenpeace and Fossil Free London activists gathered outside the court early Wednesday, chanting and holding banners reading “Oily Money Out” and “Make Polluters Pay.”

Thunberg’s fans outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Yui Mok/PA)
Thunberg’s fans outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Yui Mok/PA)

After being bailed Thunberg joined other climate protests in London organised by Fossil Free London – outside JP Morgan in Canary Wharf on 19 October, and outside London’s Guildhall on Monday.

The first two protests were in relation to the continued use of fossil fuels by major oil and gas companies, while the latest focused on the government’s approval of drilling at the Rosebank oil field.

Before she was detained at the Mayfair protest, Thunberg told journalists outside the hotel: “The world is drowning in fossil fuels. Our hopes and dreams and lives are being washed away by a flood of greenwashing and lies.

“It has been clear for decades that the fossil fuel industries were well aware of the consequences of their business models, and yet they have done nothing.

“The opposite – they have actively delayed, distracted and denied the causes of the climate crisis and spread doubts about their own engagement in it.”

Thunberg, from Stockholm, Sweden, has been an active environmental campaigner since the age of 15 and was fined by a Swedish court in July for stopping traffic during an environmental protest at an oil facility.