Greta Thunberg cleared of public order offense in London oil protest

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, England, on Feb. 1, 2024.

Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Friday was cleared of a public order offense over a protest at an oil and gas conference in October.

Thunberg was arrested Oct. 17 outside the InterContinental London Park Lane hotel after joining hundreds of protesters at an “Oily Money Out” demonstration organized by Fossil Free London and Greenpeace.

Oil executives had been meeting inside the hotel on the first day of the Energy Intelligence Forum, formerly known as the Oil and Money conference.

Thunberg appeared at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court this week alongside two Fossil Free London protesters and two Greenpeace protesters. All five defendants pleaded not guilty after being accused of breaching Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 by failing to move their protest to a designated area.

The judge in the London court ruled she had no case to answer, and also acquitted the other defendants. “The prosecution evidence is insufficient for any reasonable court to properly convict and I exercise my discretion to acquit all five defendants,” Judge John Law said to applause in the gallery, according to Reuters.

The Met Police said in a statement at the time that it had imposed conditions on those protesting under Section 14 of the Public Order Act “to prevent serious disruption to the community, hotel and guests.”

The act allows the police to impose conditions on a public group in an effort to prevent issues such as “significant impact on persons or serious disruption to the activities of an organisation by noise; serious disorder [and] serious damage to property.”

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Thunberg was catapulted to fame in 2018 when her “skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for climate) movement gained traction around the world.

A prominent campaigner, the 21-year-old has been arrested several times during climate protests across Europe over the past 12 months.

Speaking in October last year after a Swedish court fined her for disobeying police at a protest, Thunberg reportedly said she was prepared to continue taking part in demonstrations even if it “leads to more sentences.”

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