Youth climate activists have resumed their protest at the Science Museum over its links to Shell after being threatened with arrest when they staged an occupation of the building on Saturday evening.
Members of the London branch of the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN London) are demonstrating against the museum’s decision to accept sponsorship from Shell for its Our Future Planet exhibition.
The exhibition will feature carbon capture and storage technologies and nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.
Izzy Warren, 17, an A-level student from west London, told the PA news agency: “The fact that Shell, and oil company, are sponsoring the exhibition is absurd.
“It’s blatant greenwashing.”
Izzy said UKSCN London had tried to engage with the museum in various ways to get them to abandon the deal with Shell, including through petitions, a boycott and letters to directors.
The group also previously staged demonstration outside the Science Museum.
“(The Science Museum) continues to justify the sponsorship and so the protest last night was us taking further action because further action needed to be taken,” she said.
UKSCN London said that on Saturday evening a team of police officers had arrived and threatened to arrest them when they tried to spend the night in the museum’s Kensington building.
“We hadn’t been given any warning that the police were coming, they just showed up,” Izzy said.
“They told us they ‘wouldn’t hesitate’ to arrest us all, they had the resources to arrest us all, and that they would arrest us all for aggravated trespass.”
The move prompted the group to abandon the protest for the night but return at 1pm on Sunday.
Izzy said the UKSCN London campaign had received a wave of support overnight as a result of the police’s actions.
“All of us have heard from friends who have never even been to the climate strikes who have said we are coming down because what (the police) did was so terrible,” she said.
“It’s really brought attention not just to the Shell sponsorship but also the lengths to which the Science Museum will go to protect that sponsorship deal.”
She added: “People are angry and rightfully so, and they will hopefully come and join us outside the museum now.”
An open letter to the museum published on UKSCN’s website said: “We condemn the Science Museum’s decision to accept this sponsorship and provide Shell with an opportunity for brazen greenwashing.”
It said Shell had a history of committing “horrific human rights violations” in the developing world.
The letter continued: “Solving the climate crisis goes beyond cutting carbon emissions; this must be a fight for climate justice.
“We stand alongside the activists in the Global South who face violence from fossil fuel corporations, such as Shell, and the communities who are and will be hit hardest by climate change, despite contributing the least to cause it.”
The Science Museum has been approached for comment.