BP London HQ temporarily shut down because of climate protest

5 February 2020, 10:17 | Updated: 5 February 2020, 16:41

BP has temporarily shut down its headquarters after climate activists targeted the company on its new boss's first day in office.

Police said nine people had been arrested.

Greenpeace said protesters attempted to place hundreds of solar panels in front of the oil giant's central London headquarters, and block the building's entrances with oil barrels.

It comes on the first day in charge for new chief executive Bernard Looney.

In a statement, BP said Mr Looney shares the "deep concerns" of climate protesters.

Around 100 activists took 500 solar panels to the building at 3am on Wednesday, some of them locking themselves to oil barrels bearing the BP logo in front of the HQ's six entrances to try to block them.

One protester, Richard George, said: "BP are trying to block the transition to clean energy on a global scale.

"They spend millions blocking action to fix the climate emergency and billions on drilling for more oil and gas to make it worse.

"Floods, droughts, forest fires and hurricanes all over the globe start right here with the plans made in BP's headquarters."

Mr Looney will set out his vision for BP's response to the transition to a low carbon future in a speech next week.

The company said the chief executive "hopes that what he has to say to them will give people a sense that we get it and are very serious about working to address the problem".

Climate activists have reportedly targeted BP on a number of occasions.

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In June, protesters from Extinction Rebellion tried to disrupt a BP-sponsored screening of Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Opera House.

Greenpeace had also previously targeted the company's headquarters in May ahead of its AGM.

The latest protest comes a day after BP reported a sharp fall in annual profits blamed on lower oil prices, and warned of the impact of the coronavirus on global demand.