Greenpeace protesters arrested after Shard climb

A member of Greenpeace displays a banner which reads 'Save The Arctic'. Picture: Getty
A member of Greenpeace displays a banner which reads 'Save The Arctic'. Picture: Getty
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Six Greenpeace protesters, including one from Nottinghamshire, who scaled Britain’s tallest building remain in police custody after being arrested over the stunt.

• The demonstrators live-streamed the climb from helmet cameras

The police van carrys the activists away. Picture: PA

The police van carrys the activists away. Picture: PA

• The activists were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass

The group of female activists reached the top of the Shard in central London on Thursday evening following 15 hours of climbing in protest at oil drilling in the Arctic.

On reaching the summit of the 72-storey building at around 7.10pm, two of the campaigners unfurled a 32 foot by 32 foot blue flag with “Save the Arctic” written in white across it.

They were later arrested by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

They were driven away by police in an unmarked white van to the sound of cheers from supporters gathered at the foot of the landmark.

The women, who evaded security guards to begin their climb in the early morning, said it was intended to put Shell and other oil companies in the spotlight.

A Shard spokesman said that in the interests of public and protester safety, The View, the platform on floors 68, 69 and 72 which gives a view of London from 800ft (244m) up, was closed to visitors.

“We apologise to guests for the inconvenience caused and The View will be pleased to honour their tickets either later on today or on a different date,” the spokesman said.

All three restaurants and offices in the building remained open.

The demonstrators live-streamed the climb from helmet cameras, with birds-eye views of their ascent broadcast live at www.iceclimb.savethearctic.org.

One climber, Victoria Henry, 32, a Canadian living in Hackney, London, said before the climb: “We’ll try to hang a huge art installation 310m up that will make Shell think twice before sending their rigs into the Arctic.

“It’s going to be really hard work, it’s going to be nerve-shredding for all of us and we may not succeed, but we’re going to do everything we can to pull it off.

“Millions of people have called on Shell to get out of the Arctic but they’re still trying to drill there anyway.

“If we reach the top we’ll be able to see all three of Shell’s London offices below us, meaning they’ll be able to see us. Maybe then they’ll stop ignoring the movement ranged against them.”

Greenpeace later said the climbers would not be unfurling the artwork because it was unsafe to do so.

The charity said on its Greenpeace UK Twitter page: “The art installation takes 4 hours so the climbers have decided it’s not safe to install before it gets dark.

“We’re still far from certain whether they can make it to the top but they’re going to try.

“Only the two most experienced climbers will try the final ascent.”

Along with Ms Henry, the other activists were Ali Garrigan, 27, from Nottinghamshire, who lives in Manchester; Wiola Smul, 23, from Poznan, Poland; Sabine Huyghe, 33, from Ghent, Belgium; Sandra Lamborn, 29, from Stockholm, Sweden; and Liesbeth Deddens, 31, from Groningen, Netherlands.

Asked about the Shard protest during his call-in show on LBC 97.3 radio, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Of course what they are doing looks extraordinary on the telly, (but) I don’t actually support them doing something like that, which is going to tie up a lot of police time and is obviously quite dangerous.

“I really do think that they could get their point across to the companies which they are seeking to address in a different way.”

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said it was an honour to stand at the foot of Europe’s highest building and witness the “remarkable achievement “ by the women.

“Watching them fly the flag to protect the Arctic from the top of the Shard is a remarkable sight, “ he said.

“And I’m not the only one watching this today - the executives of Shell, whose offices are all around this building, simply won’t be able to ignore what we have done.

“As a result of our action, 50,000 extra people have joined up to the campaign.

“If Shell continues to ignore the huge groundswell of support for protecting the Arctic then they will do irreversible damage to their reputation.”