Six protesters from Greenpeace have reached the summit of The Shard in London, and were promptly arrested, having scaled the outside of Europe's tallest building since the early hours of Thursday.
After 15 hours of arduous climbing on the sheer face of Western Europe’s tallest building, cheered by crowds gathered at the foot of the skyscraper and watched by tens of thousands through a live stream on the Greenpeace website, two of the activists waved a 32-square-foot flag with the demand “Save the Arctic” written across it.
They have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, according to the Metropolitan Police.
The all-female climbers had promised to install a "major artwork" at the top of the building, but because the climb took longer than expected, the four-hour installation would have taken them into the hours of darkness, making it unsafe for them to continue.
THEY'VE DONE IT!!! 6 #iceclimb climbers at the top of Europe's tallest builidng, waving a flag for humanity, to save the Arctic.— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) July 11, 2013
John Sauven Executive Director of Greenpeace UK said: “It is an honour to stand here at the foot of Europe’s highest building and witness this remarkable achievement by these women – watching them fly the flag to protect the Arctic from the top of the Shard is a remarkable sight.
"And I’m not the only one watching this today – the executives of Shell, whose offices are all around this building, simply won’t be able to ignore what we have done. As a result of our action, fifty thousand extra people have joined up to the campaign.
“If Shell continues to ignore the huge groundswell of support for protecting the Arctic then they will do irreversible damage to their reputation.”
Earlier, the campaign group confirmed it was behind the stunt on its official Twitter feed and posted a photo of the climbers:
They are thought to have climbed to the top of London Bridge station to access the 72-storey skyscraper.
News: The Shard's being used by protestors. Our key focus is on safety of all at our building & we're working with relevant authorities.— TheShardLondon (@TheShardLondon) July 11, 2013
The Shard closed its viewing platform due to safety concerns.
Greenpeace said it had chosen The Shard because it towered over the London offices of Shell, which it said was leading controversial drilling in the Arctic.
It said: "The Greenpeace volunteers began their climb at 4am this morning, and if they succeed – which is far from certain – they expect the gruelling project to take most of the day.
"The lead climbers are ‘free climbing’ (scaling the building without assistance) but are fixing safety ropes as they progress.
"They are carrying the huge work of art in backpacks and will install it this afternoon if they reach the summit."
One of the climbers, 27-year-old Swede Sandra Lamborn, said an oil spill in the Arctic would be "devastating".
She claimed drilling was only possible because climate change was melting the ice cap.
"That’s why I’m climbing that skyscraper slap bang in the middle of Shell’s three main offices, because they want to drill for the fuels that caused the melting in the first place," she said.
"It’s crazy. I’ve come to London to make a stand. We’re drawing a line in the ice and saying to the oil companies, you come no further.”
A Shell spokesman said: “We respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations.
"Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others, including Shell personnel and customers in mind.”
He added: "Shell has been operating in the Arctic and sub-Arctic since the early 20th century, giving us the technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas responsibly."