BP employees blocked from work as Greenpeace protests London HQ

By Kelly Gilblom on 5/20/2019
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Photo: BP London Headquarters.

LONDON (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc employees are working from home, as the oil giant attempts to continue normal business operations after Greenpeace put up barriers on the entrances to its London headquarters.

The environmental group said volunteers arrived at BP’s office at 3;00 a.m. on Monday. They “encased themselves in specially designed, toughened containers weighing several tons each, blockading all the HQ’s main entrances and preventing staff from entering the building,” the organization said in a statement.

The protest echoes a similar days-long event organized by activists from Extinction Rebellion last month. The group glued themselves to trains, blockaded parts of London and vandalized Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.K. headquarters to draw attention to a “climate emergency.”

Greenpeace said Monday it will stop protesting at BP if the company ends its investment in oil and gas entirely and becomes a renewable-energy company, or if it winds down its operations and chooses to go out of business. Greenpeace said its volunteers had enough food and water to last a week.

“We respect the right of people to peacefully express their views but are concerned that this should not risk their or others’ safety,” a BP spokesman said in an emailed statement. “We’ll work with police and other authorities to safely resolve the situation.”

BP employees are working remotely or from other offices until they can return to the headquarters, the spokesman said.

The company’s annual general meeting is on Tuesday in Aberdeen, Scotland, where it will face two shareholder resolutions related to climate change. Management has supported one of the proposals, and said it will begin issuing specific reports on how BP’s investments are aligned with the Paris climate accord.

“People around the world are demanding radical action to stop a climate breakdown and secure a better future,” said Paul Morozzo, a Greenpeace activist. “It’s clear there simply is no place for companies like BP in that future.”

BP response

We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge, but impeding safe entry and exit from an office building in this way is dangerous and clearly a matter for the police to resolve as swiftly as possible.We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge, but impeding safe entry and exit from an office building in this way is dangerous and clearly a matter for the police to resolve as swiftly as possible.

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