Shell AGM disrupted by climate protesters

  • Post last modified:May 21, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Climate protesters have disrupted fossil fuel giant Shell’s AGM.

On Tuesday 21 May, activists from multiple climate justice groups launched a demonstration against the climate-wrecking company in central London.

Activists from Fossil Free London, Extinction Rebellion UK, Climate Justice Coalition, War on Want, among others disrupted the meeting inside. Meanwhile, protesters supported the action in a rally outside the InterContinental Hotel London, where Shell shareholders brushed shoulders for the annual event.

Crucially, protesters sought to highlight the damage Shell’s operations have done in the Niger Delta and its broader role exacerbating the climate crisis.

‘Shell kills’: protest at its AGM

Outside the AGM, over 50 protesters sang Shell Kills in defiant rendition of Dolly Parton’s iconic “Jolene”. They waved pictures of Shell’s logo on fire in the air as they sung:

A number of activists also broke into protest song inside the AGM:

When security guards and police started carrying protester out of the AGM, they were undeterred and continued chanting:

Shell in the Niger Delta

Protesters have previously targeted Shell AGMs for the company’s appalling climate record. For instance, in May 2022, groups forced Shell to pause its shareholder meeting with a similar action.

This time, protesters drew attention to Shell’s abysmal history of ecocide and human rights abuse in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta is the most polluted place in the world because of Shell’s oil spills. Between 2011 and 2022, there were 10,463 spill incidents, according to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency. Shockingly, there, life expectancy is 10 years lower than the rest of Nigeria.

As the Canary previously reported, Shell is now seeking to ditch its assets in the delta. However, rights groups have accused it of trying to slip away from cleaning up its mess.

In November 2023, a UK court ruled in favour of more than 13,000 farmers and fishers in Niger Delta. Specifically, it determined that human rights claims against Shell over water pollution can be heard in the UK.

Shell AGM: shareholders versus the planet

Meanwhile, protesters also underscored the company’s continued climate-wrecking business plans.

Since 2021, Shell has approved the development of at least 20 new fossil fuel extraction sites. These projects will extract more than 2.1 billion barrels of new oil and gas equivalent, producing 753 million tonnes of carbon pollution. According to Oil Change International, this is incompatible with 1.5°c of warming.

In April, Shell was also trying to weasel out of a landmark legal ruling from 2021. Notably, the Hague District Court had ruled that the company must reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. Of course, Shell therefore fought this – in April it started an appeal against the judgement.

Of course, it has been continuing these planet-destructive operations while paying staggering dividends to its shareholders. For instance, as the Canary highlighted in March, Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan pocketed £8m in 2023.

Ultimately, Shell obstinately refuses to take responsibility in the Niger Delta, and for its climate-wrecking operations at large. Given this, activists were right to raise their voices above the clamour of another corporate AGM packed with shareholders profiteering off the backs of people and the planet.

Feature image via Fossil Free London – X

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