Extinction Rebellion protestors have said investment in fossil fuels will not cease without a “civilian uprising”.
Dozens of climate change activists have surrounded the Lloyd’s of London headquarters today demanding that the insurance giant stops insuring fossil fuels projects.
They also highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada, which they believe is being insured through the Lloyd’s marketplace.
The action kicked off at 7am after activists blocked the building entrances preventing staff from entering.
The protests have continued throughout the day with drumming and chanting on the steps of the Lloyd’s building.
Banners have been unfurled, reading "End fossil fuels now" and "Insure climate justice".
Matt Osmond, a university lecturer from Cornwall, travelled to London for XR’s series of protests that began on Saturday.
“We’re here to talk to our fellow citizens rather than our government as there is no way this thing is going to be stopped without a civilian uprising,” he told LondonWorld.
“The Trans Mountain pipeline extension if successfully built will triple the exploit of coal tar sands.
“Tar sands is the dirtiest, filthiest fuel of all.
“The entire infrastructure of COP26, the IPCC is completely defunct by what’s going on in the Lloyd’s building.
“It means nothing as long as insurance markets like Lloyd’s continue to operate with impunity.”
David Smartknight, a cultural engineer, said he was there to act as an ally for the indigenous people in Canada who are impacted by the Trans Mountain pipeline extension.
“We’re particularly here because Lloyd’s of London have scooped up the insurance on the Trans Mountain pipeline which is a pipeline in Canada that is being forced upon indigenous people across their lands and they have been fighting for years against it,” he said.
“They need us to be their allies.
“As the United Nations says, as the International Energy Agency says, we needed to have stopped new fossil fuel investments a year ago.
“Sometimes climate activists are described as dangerous criminals or radicals, the real dangerous radicals are the government investing in fossil fuels.”
Paul Graham, a 16-year-old school student, gave up his Easter holidays to take part in the series of protests.
“It’s really worrying what’s happening, we’re trying to protect our future because it feels like it’s all draining away,” he said.
“There’s a large feeling of despair kind of seeping through our age group because in a few years all of the beautiful things that we’ve grown up with and the previous generations have lived with will be gone.
“I’m out here trying to protect that future.”
In a statement Lloyd’s of London said it "supports safe and constructive engagement on climate change and we’re continuing to work to support a responsible transition".
It added that employees had been advised not to come to the building "in the interests of our people’s safety", but "the market remains open and trading is continuing online".
Commander Ade Adelekan, Met police spokesperson for the planned Extinction Rebellion protests in London, said: “Extinction Rebellion have made their intentions clear in their public announcements that they plan to hold ‘mass action’ and block areas of London for as long as possible to draw attention to their cause.
“Everyone has the right to protest, and the public understands that protest will often result in a degree of disruption.
“However, the rights of protestors have to be balanced against the rights of the wider public, businesses and community.
“We have a comprehensive policing plan, together with colleagues from City of London Police, ready to consider using police powers should the protest result in serious disruption or involve anyone committing criminal offences.
“Our plan includes specialist teams on standby to respond to any protesters who lock or glue themselves to street furniture or complicated structures, should that be necessary.
“We have been in contact with the organisers in the run up to their event, and will continue to engage with them throughout the period, in an effort to avoid serious disruption to London’s communities.”