Six arrests after Olympians scale oil tanker at Extinction Rebellion protest

16 April 2022, 14:24 | Updated: 16 April 2022, 14:41

Olympian canoeist Etienne Stott and Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin are seen glued on an oil truck across Hyde Park in Extinction Rebellion fossil fuel protest.
Olympian canoeist Etienne Stott and Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin are seen glued on an oil truck across Hyde Park in Extinction Rebellion fossil fuel protest. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Six people have been arrested after a group of Extinction Rebellion protesters - including two Olympians - scaled a Shell oil tanker in central London.

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Eco protesters from Extinction Rebellion climbed on top of a Shell oil tanker off Bayswater Road, near Hyde Park, on Saturday.

Three people – including Olympians Etienne Stott and Laura Baldwin – sat on top of the tanker with a banner that read “END FOSSIL FILTH”.

Several people surrounded the tanker, holding banners that read “END FOSSIL FUELS NOW”.

In a tweet about the protest, XR said: “Rebels including Olympians Etienne Stott & Laura Baldwin are occupying an oil tanker in central London. We call on the govt to end all new #FossilFuels investment NOW.”

The Metropolitan Police attended the protest shortly before 9am and have arrested six people for vehicle interference.

The road has since reopened.

Etienne Stott MBE, 42, who was Olympic champion in his category at London 2012, was joined by fellow Olympian sailor Laura Baldwin on top of the tanker.

Read more: Climate campaigners blockade four bridges in central London

Read more: Misery at the pumps as eco-mob’s fuel stunt causes massive queues at petrol stations

The pair clambered on top of the oil tanker and were later removed by officials. It's underst

In a statement released ahead of the protest, Mr Stott said: “I am acting to try to disrupt the toxic fossil fuel industry that is destroying everything we hold dear. I am hoping we can slow it down long enough to create a moment where everyone can stop and think where we are going and change course.

"We need our government to rein in these companies and stop investing in fossil fuels now, rather than allowing oil companies to continue their stranglehold on our lives and our future.

“I am aware that my actions will cause anger to many people and I am prepared to be held accountable. But our government should also be held to account for its decisions which are destroying our planet’s ability to support human civilisation.”

On Good Friday, four London bridges were forced to close by Extinction Rebellion climate activists who formed human barriers, blocking traffic and bringing delays to the capital.

Eco protesters lined the roads outside Blackfriars, Westminster, Waterloo and Lambeth bridges causing "delays and disruption" to people in central London.

The demonstrations are part of ongoing protests which have targeted oil depots in recent weeks, bringing shortages due to delivery issues in the south and south-east.

It marks exactly three years since the start of XR’s first major demonstration.

A spokesperson for Shell said: "We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view - we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind.

"We agree that society needs to take urgent action on climate change. Shell has a clear target to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050, in step with society.

"We are also deeply committed to the UK and are planning to invest between £20 billion and £25 billion in the UK energy system over the next decade - more than 75% of this will be in low and zero-carbon products and services, including offshore wind, hydrogen and electric mobility.

"We welcome constructive engagement on our strategy and the energy transition."