LONDON – Dozens of climate protesters disrupted Shell’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, chanting slogans and holding banners as Shell Chair Andrew McKenzie was temporarily suspended.
Shell called on its shareholders to vote in a resolution supporting its climate strategy and to reject an environmental resolution from staff, another recurrence of which received 30% of the vote at last year’s annual general meeting.
“Can I assume you don’t want to talk to me?” McKenzie asked with slogans such as “We’ll stop you” and “The shell must fall” which delayed the start of proceedings.
Police arrived at Central London’s event but allowed the protesters to continue slogans for more than an hour after the meeting was scheduled to begin.
“We are here to embarrass them and hold them accountable as much as possible. They know what is happening. We are not here to educate them, “said Aidan Knox, a money laundering activist linked to the extinction of the Climate Protest Group.
Mackenzie and Shell chief executive Ben Van Bourdain were both on stage, watching the protests face rocks, even a screen behind them said the meeting was “temporarily adjourned” and non-dissenting shareholders were told to leave.
About two hours later, Mackenzie said shell staff, including members of the police board, were told to leave the scene. Once they left, the protesters voluntarily left under police surveillance. A Shell spokesman said the shareholder meeting would resume in a different room after the break.
“We respect the right of everyone to express their views and welcome any participation in a change in our strategy and structural strength. However, such disruptions … are the opposite of constructive engagement, “Shell said in a statement. (Edited by David Goodman and Mark Potter)