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DEFIANT young climate activists resumed their protest at the Science Museum today after being threatened with arrest for staging an occupation of the building on Saturday.
The London branch of the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN London) staged a sit-in at the South Kensington museum to oppose its sponsorship deal with oil giant Shell.
Planning to occupy the building overnight, the teens were forced to abandon the action when police officers showed up at about 9pm and threatened them with arrest for aggravated trespass, UKSCN said.
But on Sunday, activists returned to the museum. Gathering outside, protesters held up posters reading: “Shell out of our museum.”
The Metropolitan Police’s response to the peaceful sit-in on Saturday has attracted widespread criticism, with police monitoring group Netpol questioning why officers were involved in the civil matter of trespass.
UKSCN accused the police of “protecting fossil fuel interests” and claimed the museum had instructed officers to arrest the activists.
One of the protesters, Izzy Warren, 17, an A-level student from west London, said the officers showed up without warning.
“They told us they ‘wouldn’t hesitate’ to arrest us all, they had the resources to arrest us all, and that they would arrest us all for aggravated trespass,” she said.
But the police response had also sparked a wave of support, she said, adding that it had “really brought attention not just to the Shell sponsorship but also the lengths to which the Science Museum will go to protect that sponsorship deal.”
Ms Warren said UKSCN London decided to stage the sit-in after attempts to pressure the museum to drop its Shell sponsorship through petitions and letters failed.
“[The museum] continues to justify the sponsorship, and so the protest last night was us taking further action because further action needed to be taken,” she said.
The group is protesting against the museum’s decision to accept sponsorship from Shell for its Our Future Planet exhibition, which will feature nature-based solutions to the climate emergency.
In an open letter to the Science Museum, the group said: “The fact that Shell, a company with a vested interest in the continued use of fossil fuels, is financially supporting an exhibition about climate change solutions is appalling.
“We condemn the Science Museum’s decision to accept this sponsorship and provide Shell with an opportunity for brazen greenwashing.”
The Science Museum was approached for comment.
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