THIS WEEK, SEVEN PEOPLE charged with £25,000 worth of criminal damage at Shell’s London HQ are appearing at Southwark Crown Court in London for a jury trial. The trial comes almost two years to the day since Shell was the focus of non-violent direct action by Extinction Rebellion in 2019.
During the protest, which lasted over 24 hours, activists poured fake oil, glued themselves to the windows and blocked the doors. They cracked several windows, climbed onto a roof, dropped banners and painted the exterior with ‘Shell Knew’, ‘Climate Criminals’ and ‘Lies’. The activists also sprayed ’Stop Ecocide’ and ‘For Polly’ on the wall of the building. Polly Higgins, founder of the Stop Ecocide campaign, was then seriously ill with cancer and died six days later.
Of the seven defendants dubbed the ‘Shell 7’, six are pleading not guilty. They are:
- Ian Bray, a father of two and a salvage and repair worker. An Extinction Rebellion Co-founder, he is also a Quaker and a member of Christian Climate Action.
- Jane Augsburger is a single parent and carer.
- Simon Bramwell, an Extinction Rebellion co-founder, is a bushcraft instructor who is looking after his terminally ill mother.
- Senan Clifford is a father of three with two stepchildren and two grandchildren. He is a former teacher now working as a carpenter.
- David Lambert is a father of three, and a self-employed landscape consultant.
- Sid Saunders is a father of two, and a sustainable builder.
Katerina Hasapopoulous has decided to plead guilty. Katerina is a home educator with four children who runs a small business providing vegan meals.
Farhana Yamin, Paris Agreement negotiator and lead author on three of the five IPCC reports, was arrested in the final hours of this protest for gluing herself to Shell HQ and was subject to investigations, but the police decided not to bring charges.
There have been over 3,600 arrests for Extinction Rebellion UK actions since April 2019. Nearly 2,000 (possibly more) have resulted in minor charges (mainly Section 14 offences and Obstruction of the Highway), with around 1,000 prosecutions still in progress. Of those cases that have concluded, more than 900 have resulted in convictions. A number have been Christians and many of those have been members of the clergy.
* Source: Christian Climate Action