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Shell Plc called the police to its annual general meeting in London after environmental protesters disrupted the gathering with chants of “Shell must fall.”
The meeting was delayed by several hours as more than 40 campaigners, accusing Shell of being responsible for environmental damage and human rights violations, were removed from the central-London venue.
The protest occurred as climate issues once again took center-stage at Shell’s shareholder meeting, with a key environmental group saying the energy giant isn’t abiding by a landmark court order requiring it to cut emissions by 45% by 2030.
Chairman Andrew MacKenzie restarted the meeting, thanking investors for their patience. Security was still high after the bulk of the protesters departed, with a sniffer dog checking everyone coming back into the hall.
Still, proceedings were disrupted again as a man with a t-shirt featuring a burning Shell logo and the word “Hell” ran in, pressed his hand to the side of the stage and said “I’m glued on!” Three police officers came in and he was quickly ushered out.
In an emailed statement, the protest group Extinction Rebellion said that more than 80 people disrupted the event held in Westminster. The included activists from the UK, the Netherlands and Nigeria that read out testimonies accusing Shell of fueling climate breakdown.
“We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view and welcome any engagement on our strategy and the energy transition which is constructive,” Shell said in an emailed statement. “However, this kind of disruption of our AGM is the opposite of constructive engagement.”
Shareholders are due to vote on two climate resolutions, one by activist group Follow This, and another advisory vote on the progress of its own environmental strategy.
Ahead of the meeting, Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth, said Shell’s plans around customer-related emissions — which make up the bulk of its pollution — aren’t in line with last year’s judgment by a court in the Netherlands.
“The judge’s verdict is clear and necessary: Shell must stop causing dangerous climate change,” said campaign spokesperson Nine de Pater, who was planning to attend the meeting in London as a proxy shareholder.
Shell is appealing the Dutch ruling, which it has said isn’t effective.
“The Dutch District Court gave Shell a broad discretion as to how to meet the reduction obligation by its 2030 deadline,” a company spokesperson said. Shell is complying with the judgment through its energy transition strategy and making progress on reducing its emissions, the spokesperson added.