Eco-zealots storm London's Walkie Talkie building as they march through City over insurance for oil projects

27 February 2024, 15:35 | Updated: 27 February 2024, 15:50

Eco-protesters stormed five offices across London
Eco-protesters stormed five offices across London. Picture: Extinction Rebellion/Alamy/City of London police

By Emma Soteriou

Eco-zealots have stormed London's Walkie Talkie building in protest over insurance for oil and gas projects.

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Extinction Rebellion protesters "occupied" five major insurers' offices in the City of London on Tuesday, including the Walkie Talkie building, which is home to insurance company Tokio Marine.

Activists dressed in suits "infiltrated" offices belonging to Probitas, Talbot, Travelers and Zurich at 8.30am.

It comes amid calls for the firms to stop insuring gas and oil projects such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

The group also marched through the financial district with banners reading "insure our future, not fossil fuels" and "rebel for truth".

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Protestor Liz Pendleton said: "We are here to engage constructively with insurance bosses about their decision to insure the fossil fuel crooks wrecking the climate. We're staying until they come down and talk to us.

"The insurance industry has a unique opportunity to immediately halt all the 'carbon bomb' projects like the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline and the West Cumbria coal mine that will cause climate breakdown and a future of killer storms and heatwaves, floods, famine and war.

"It's very simple. No insurance equals no drilling. No insurance equals no digging. So these companies have a superpower that could give us all a fighting chance of a liveable future."

City of London police said there had been several arrests during the protest - one being on suspicion of breach of bail conditions.

A Section 11 is now in place until 4pm, giving officers the power to search for items which may be used with believed criminal intent, including lock on devices.

A Section 11 has been authorised
A Section 11 has been authorised. Picture: City of London Police

Extinction Rebellion sent a letter to CEOs, senior underwriters, and chief actuaries at more than 40 insurance firms in the City of London on Monday.

The letter said: "We’re writing to you from the heart to offer you and your business the opportunity to be the climate heroes that millions of us desperately need you to be in these times of terrifying and rapidly accelerating crisis.

"You and your colleagues possess an amazing and quite unique superpower. You could simply refuse to underwrite new and existing oil, gas and coal projects and infrastructure – and stop the global fossil fuel industry that is causing the climate crisis in its tracks.

"Immediately, companies such as Total and Adani would be left to face the full financial risk of ‘carbon bomb’ projects including the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the West Cumbria coal mine – and thus be unable to push ahead with them.

"At a stroke, you would give all of us a fighting chance of avoiding global temperature rises that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres predict will plunge us into a future of deadly droughts, famines, killer storms and heatwaves, war and societal collapse."

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