Extinction Rebellion protesters take fossil fuels fight to Fawley Refinery
EXTINCTION Rebellion protesters descended on Fawley Refinery this morning (Thursday) as part of their ongoing campaign against the use of fossil fuels.
Traffic delays were reported along the A326 Hythe bypass as the activists broke into the ExxonMobil site around 6.30am, waving banners and towing a pink boat emblazoned with the words “Act now”.
Hampshire police are at the scene and in its surrounding area, with the force vowing to take action against those who "choose to act outside the law".
The activists’ latest demonstration – which included British Olympians Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott – was publicised with images posted on the Extinction Rebellion South East UK Twitter page.
One tweet said: “At first light Extinction Rebellion activists break into ExxonMobil's oil refinery in Fawley, just three days before COP26 demanding the UK government listens to the people and stops all fossil fuel investments.”
The COP26 UN summit is taking place in Glasgow from Sunday to 12th November, with world leaders coming together to discuss how they can address climate change.
Protesters blocked the refinery’s main gate with the boat named Beverly Geronimo in honour of a 27-year-old activist who was shot dead in the Philippines in 2018.
In a statement, an ExxonMobil spokesperson said its team was working with police to ensure everyone’s safety during the demonstration.
“ExxonMobil believes that climate change risks warrant action and it’s going to take all of us – business, governments and consumers – to make meaningful progress,” the spokesperson said.
“Our focus includes reducing our emissions, helping consumers reduce their emissions, and developing lower-emission energy solutions, including energy efficiency initiatives, biofuels, flare reduction and carbon capture and storage (CCS).”
The spokesperson explained the firm was helping motorists and farmers reduce emissions by manufacturing lower carbon fuels, while it also produced lubricants and chemicals to support lower emissions.
“Furthermore, our chemicals play a vital role in our daily lives from medical equipment, to clothing, cleaning materials and healthcare products,” the spokesperson continued.
“We respect the right to peaceful protest, but our priority is the safety of our people, our neighbours and our operations and we are working with Hampshire police to ensure this is maintained.
“ExxonMobil Fawley continues to operate safely and is not experiencing any impact on production.’’
A Hampshire police spokesperson said: “Everyone has the right to free speech and protest. However, officers will take necessary action against the few who deliberately choose to act outside the law.
“Police will work to ensure the health and safety of people at these locations, and to minimise the impact on the local community.”