Around 12:30pm today (1 June 2015), a group of activists erected a 30 foot tripod outside the front of City Hall and superglued themselves to the front of the building, protesting against Boris Johnson’s recent dismissal of the Divest London and London Assembly call to divest their £4.8bn pension fund from oil, coal and gas and his supportive stance on fracking and shale gas extraction.
The activists, who are a part of the direct action network Reclaim The Power, decided to take the Mayor at his word, and in responding to his statement that ‘no stone should be left unfracked’ they erected a tripod masquerading as a fracking drill directly outside his place of work. Some wore decontamination suits and offered workers entering the building some ‘Fracking Juice’ for breakfast, whilst an activist sat on top of the tripod, wearing a business suit and carrying a large mobile phone, whilst taking instructions supposedly from the Mayor inside who was giving orders to ‘go ahead and frack everywhere’. Played on a loudspeaker dangling from the tripod was the sound of a pneumatic fracking drill. The action is one of many which are targeting fossil fuel corporate power today, following on from a mass action training camp next to Didcot power station, where hundreds had gathered over the past weekend to share skills and attend workshops and trainings.
Lindsay Alderton from Reclaim The Power said:
‘Boris Johnson’s decision to dismiss the recent call for divestment and continue with a trajectory of business as usual displays a level of arrogance that is both alarming and dangerous. With our scientific community telling us loud and clear that 80% of already discovered fossil fuels must stay in the ground if we are to stand a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, it is time for the Mayor to wake up and realise that we’re not going to take this idiocy as a form of legitimate leadership, and that we demand a renewable energy transition now, both in London and UK wide. So in lieu of making any progressive steps to addressing the extent of the climate crisis we are facing, we decided to come along here today to give him a taste of what fracking might sound and look like right on his front doorstep. He can expect more of this if he fails to start taking measures seriously, and ensure that the health of the people are put before the wealth of him and his millionaire pals.”
Dave Shakespeare from Reclaim The Power said:
“This government seems to think that gas is ‘cleaner’ than coal, even though it’s still a fossil fuel that we can’t afford to burn if we’re to have any change of avoiding runaway climate change. We know that renewable energy is available right now, and that with existing technology we could be carbon neutral in this country by 2030. The decisions at City Hall are reflective of a government that is still not taking the reality of the science seriously, and pushing ahead with the construction of 30 new gas-fired power stations and opening up two thirds of the UK to be licensed for fracking. Community-led resistance has kept fracking at bay in the UK for the last 4 years, and we’re not planning on giving up on that fight, and will keep stepping up and getting in their way, wherever they try to drill. Whether extracting it or burning it, this new dash for gas that must be resisted, and at a local and national level we will step up and show that we want all fossil fuels kept in the ground.”
Reclaim the Power is part of an increasing number of protest groups who are appalled by the monopoly on fuel prices, and a government that is controlled by corporate influence.
Last year’s day of action led to 13 nationwide actions including protestors superglueing themselves to DEFRA’s headquarters, occupying Cuadrilla’s Blackpool office, blockading iGas’ London headquarters, and shutting down a fracking site near Hull. In 2013, thousands came to Balcombe in support of the local anti-fracking protectors’ camp, to shut down Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site for six days, and collectively take part in a national day of high profile direct action which saw Green Party MP Caroline Lucas being arrested.