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Greta Thunberg arrives at court for trial over Mayfair oil protest

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has arrived at court to be tried for a public order offence after a protest in central London last year.

The 21-year-old, from Sweden, was arrested during the demonstration near the InterContinental Hotel in Mayfair on October 17 as oil executives met inside for the Energy Intelligence Forum.

Thunberg, two Fossil Free London (FFL) protesters and two Greenpeace activists pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in November to breaching Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 by blocking the entrance to the hotel.

Greta Thunberg outside court
Ms Thunberg has denied a public order offence (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

She arrived at the same court just after 9am on Thursday for a trial expected to last two days.

The founder of the school strike for climate movement made her way past media and environmental protesters who were demonstrating “in solidarity” with the defendants, holding up large yellow banners which read “Climate protest is not a crime” and cardboard signs saying “Who are the real criminals?”.

Wearing a grey jacket, Thunberg smiled at photographers before making her way inside.

Protesters outside court
Environmental protesters held banners and signs outside the court (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Maja Darlington, campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said in a statement earlier on Thursday: “The prosecution of Greta and other peaceful protesters reflects a Government that cares more about bolstering the profits of oil bosses than fighting for a liveable future for all of us.

“Instead of cracking down on climate activists, the UK Government should force Shell and the rest of the oil industry to stop drilling and start paying for the damage they are causing to our planet and everyone who lives on it.”

Joanna Warrington, an organiser with FFL, said: “The UK criminalises peaceful climate activists like Greta whilst rolling out the red carpet for climate criminals in Mayfair hotels.”