May 19th 2020, The Hague– After a night of autonomous decentralised actions, the group ‘Shell Must Fall!’ protests in front of the Shell Headquarters in the Hague during their annual shareholders meeting. Decentralised actions have taken place in several Dutch cities, as well as in Belgium, Czech Republic and Germany. The disastrous impacts of Shells business as usual have been spray painted on tankstations, banners have been dropped, slogans have been chalked. Right now, three petrol stations are occupied in Prague. Amongst other places, more protest will take place in Denmark and Portugal later in the day. The protestors demand public decommissioning of Shell, because the company continues to choose profit over climate, nature, and lives.
Protest in times of Covid
The municipality of the Hague declared it illegal to demonstrate with more than 30 people in front of Shell’s Headquarters. Chalk paint with messages about Shell on public streets was removed before the AGM started. Therefore, rather than one corona large protest, there are three corona-proof protests going on at the same time. The protest at the headquarters, a small demonstration to reprove the close-knit bonds between the Dutch government and Royal Dutch Shell, and a demonstration explicitly to reprimand the limitation of the right to demonstrate. At all places, people stay 1.5 metres apart and wear masks.
Shell hides behind corona
Because of corona Shell invites only two Shareholders at its annual general meeting. Other years, this was one of the few places where critical shareholders and concerned stakeholders could voice their concerns about Shells destructive business. Journalists, scientists, and representatives of impacted communities where not welcome this time, even though the oil multinational is at a critical point.
Spokesperson Nina:”Shell is exploiting the corona crisis to make decisions behind closed doors. Not closing the oil drilling rigs, but limiting participation under the guise of safety: everything Shell does is a sham. At shareholders’ meetings like this, money is the only priority – even if it is at the expense of integrity, people’s lives, and the climate”.
Shell: Climate breakdown and human rights abuses
In the demonstration in the Hague some of the victims of Shells disastrous policies speak out. Shell Must Fall! works with impacted communities all over the world where the resistance against Shell is ever growing: e.g. Mozambique, Nigeria, Ireland, Groningen. Especially in the Global South, Shell has been violating human rights, all while obscuring climate science and hurtling us towards climate breakdown. At the demonstration, perspectives from around the world are shared to hold Shell accountable, as well as breaking down how we can nationalise and dismantle Shell.
Nina (Code Rood): “Shell won’t change as long as it is a profit-driven shareholder company. Climate change, ecocide, and human rights abuses will continue. The escalating climate crisis is making Shell’s fall inevitable. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden doesn’t accept that because his hourly salary is 2000 euro. That’s why Shell’s dismantling is up to us!”
Actions all over Europe
Shell Must Fall is inspired by mass civil disobedience protests from Ende Geleande, and after the shareholders meeting, SMF became a broad alliance with climate justice movements all over the world. Sister organization Limity Jsmy My is occupying three petrol stations in Prague. Approximately twenty climate activists occupied roofs of three petrol stations in Vrchlického, Evropská and Strakonická streets in Prague, Czech Republic, and dropped banners with slogans “Energy democracy”, “Climate justice” and “End oil, end Shell on Tuesday morning.
Kateřina Holá from ‘Limity jsme my’ says:
We also demand energy democracy which means a decentralized network of renewable energy sources owned by municipalities, communities and local cooperatives. Corporations like Shell profit from destroying the planet, and it is only their shareholders who benefits from this exploitation. What we want is power owned by people. Ende Geleande is doing a bicycle protest in Berlin.