Climate protesters chain themselves to oil-splattered statue of Boris Johnson

11 October 2021, 18:38

Greenpeace activists at Downing Street, London.
Greenpeace activists at Downing Street, London. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A group of climate activists chained themselves to an oil-covered statue of Boris Johnson outside Downing Street in protest against a controversial new drilling site.

Greenpeace protesters blocked Whitehall with the mock statue of the Prime Minister on Monday as they urged Mr Johnson not to sign off on a new drilling permit at Cambo oilfield, west of Shetland.

Around 40 protesters were involved in the demonstration, with 16 people locked onto barrels and the mock statue of the PM, while others held banners reading "Boris: Stop Cambo".

The 90kg statue was accompanied by a sign that read: "Cambo oilfield: Boris Johnson's monumental climate failure", and Mr Johnson's hands were completely covered in black oil.

The Metropolitan Police said seven people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway.

The protest comes amid a UK-wide oil price crisis, which saw widespread shortages across the nation due to a lack of lorry drivers and caused panic buying and huge travel disruption.

The government looks set to go ahead with a new drilling plant at Cambo oilfield, west of Shetland.

Campaign group Stop Cambo says that if plans are approved the site would produce 170 million barrels of oil and generate emissions equivalent to the annual carbon pollution from 18 coal-fired power stations.

Read more: Eco mob target Old Street and M25 in latest disruptive rush hour protest

Protesters based outside Downing Street.
Protesters based outside Downing Street. Picture: Alamy

Philip Evans, an anti-oil campaigner for Greenpeace, said: "People across the UK are feeling the stresses of a gas price crisis as well as a climate crisis, and the Government acknowledges that our reliance on fossil fuels has left the UK vulnerable and exposed. People are right to feel angry and upset.

"Johnson's failure to act has left us with petrol queues, energy companies going bust, offshore workers unemployed for months on end, and a deepening climate crisis.

"Johnson must stop Cambo, and instead prioritise a just transition to renewable energy to protect consumers, workers and the climate from future shocks. If he doesn't, he will be remembered as a monumental climate failure."

The Cambo plans have received widespread criticism. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the Government should refuse the plans, while Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on Mr Johnson to "reassess" the licence.

Boris Johnson will be joined by other world leaders in Glasgow next month at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (Cop26) to discuss how to tackle climate change.