LONDON (AP) — Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday denied a public order offense after she was arrested last month at a demonstration against a major oil and gas industry conference in London.
The 20-year-old Swedish environmental campaigner was among more than two dozen people charged after protesters sought to block access to the luxury InterContinental Hotel in central London during last month's Energy Intelligence Forum, attended by some of the industry's top executives.
Thunberg was charged with breaching a section of the Public Order Act that allows police to impose limits on public assemblies. She and four other protesters pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Thunberg confirmed her details in court, but her address in Stockholm was not read out due to concerns over alleged threats she has received.
The protesters were granted unconditional bail ahead of a trial in London scheduled for February 2024.
Five others also charged over the protest all denied the same offense on Wednesday. They will face trial at a later date.
The court hearing drew crowds of photographers and Thunberg's supporters from groups including Greenpeace and Fossil Free London, who gathered outside the building chanting and holding banners reading “Oily Money Out” and “Make Polluters Pay.”
Thunberg and other climate protesters accuse fossil fuel companies of deliberately slowing the global energy transition to renewables in order to make more profit. They also oppose the British government’s recent approval of drilling for oil in the North Sea, off the Scottish coast.
Thunberg inspired a global youth movement demanding stronger efforts to fight climate change after staging weekly protests outside the Swedish Parliament starting in 2018.
@GretaThunberg attends a #London court hearing after police charged her with a public order offense. #GretaThunberg #ClimateProtest
In July she was fined by a Swedish court for disobeying police and blocking traffic during an environmental protest at an oil facility. She had already been fined for the same offense previously in Sweden.