Greta Thunberg warned to move before arrest at protest, court told

Greta Thunberg smiling and making 'rock on' hand signs as she made her way past photographers
Image caption,Greta Thunberg arrived at court on Thursday smiling as she made her way past photographers

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg was given a “final warning” by police before she was arrested for a public order offence, a court has heard.

The 21-year-old was arrested during a demonstration near the InterContinental Hotel in Mayfair on 17 October.

Oil executives had been meeting inside for the Energy Intelligence Forum.

Ms Thunberg appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after previously denying breaching the Public Order Act 1986.

She is accused of breaching section 14 of the act by blocking the entrance to the hotel.

The court was told by Supt Andrew Cox, the most senior Metropolitan Police officer on the ground that day, that the protesters had refused to move despite repeated requests by police.

Protesters stood outside court with placards
Image caption,Protesters stood outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court with placards “in solidarity” with Greta and other defendants

Demonstrators started to gather near the hotel at about 07:30 BST and police engaged with them about improving access for members of the public, which had been made “impossible”, magistrates were told.

The court heard that as the protest continued the “majority” of people inside the hotel could not leave and people could not get inside.

Supt Cox told the court he had no choice but to impose a section 14 condition at about 12:30 BST, which directed that the protest could continue on the pavement to the south of the hotel.

Officers engaged with individual protesters and informed them of the section 14 condition, magistrates were told, including Ms Thunberg, who was stood outside the hotel entrance.

‘She said she was staying’

Prosecutor Luke Staton said she was warned by one officer that her failure to comply would result in her arrest and, while that officer was engaged elsewhere, another officer spoke with Ms Thunberg and “gave her a final warning”.

“She said that she was staying where she was, and so she was arrested,” Mr Staton said.

Ms Thunberg appeared at court along with two Fossil Free London protesters and two Greenpeace activists, who also pleaded not guilty to the same offence.

The Swede continually made notes in a small notebook as proceedings went on.

Arriving at court earlier Ms Thunberg, the founder of the school strike for climate movement, walked past environmental protesters who were demonstrating “in solidarity” with the defendants.

They held up large yellow banners that read, “climate protest is not a crime” and cardboard signs saying, “who are the real criminals?”, as well as placards.

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