Climate activists engaged in more than an hour of protests that delayed the beginning of energy giant Shell’s annual shareholder meeting in London, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Shell had anticipated the disruption — a similar protest delayed last year’s meeting by roughly three hours — which kicked off almost immediately after the meeting began, as one protestor began to shout criticisms of “banks and pension funds” that invest in fossil fuels, according to the Guardian. Roughly a dozen protesters followed shortly after, singing “Go to hell, Shell, and don’t you come back no more,” as Shell CEO Wael Sawan and Chairman Andrew Mackenzie tried to calm the crowd from onstage, Reuters reported. (RELATED: Eco-Activists Storm Biden Climate Czar’s Speech, Demand ‘No More Drilling’)
At one point, protesters attempted to rush the stage, prompting dozens of security personnel to form a human chain blocking them from reaching the oil giant’s executives, according to Reuters. The two groups engaged in several small physical altercations while security removed the protesters from the venue, the Guardian reported.
Wow – protesters have attempted to storm the stage at Shell’s AGM. Huge commotion as security seeks to prevent them reaching the board of directors pic.twitter.com/h5MUSRb9HB
— Emily Gosden (@emilygosden) May 23, 2023
Mackenzie attempted to engage with protestors several times, asking the initial protestor to sit down and later telling chanting protestors that the board “heard you loud and clear,” according to the Guardian. The beleaguered chairman also responded to protesters that argued the oil giant, which has set a goal of producing net zero carbon emissions by 2050, was failing to sufficiently address climate issues, according to Reuters.
“We’ve heard this point many times now,” Mackenzie told protestors, according to the outlet. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have this debate rather than saying the same thing over and over again.”
Shareholders are expected to vote Tuesday on a shareholder resolution introduced by activist investor Follow This, to introduce aggressive emissions reductions targets by 2030. Shell’s board of directors has encouraged shareholders to vote down the resolution.
“In Lebanon there is a proverb that says: ‘Some men will build a wine cellar when they have found just one grape,'” said Sawan, a Lebanese-Canadian, criticizing the resolution, according to the Guardian. “It seems to me this is what Follow This is doing. They have one idea. And that idea is that the world can quickly and easily replace all oil and gas by targeting companies like Shell”
Shell did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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