Environmental activist Greta Thunberg and four other activists appeared in a London court on Thursday, facing charges related to a protest outside an oil industry summit held last year. The group, including Christofer Kebbon, Joshua James Unwin, Jeff Rice, and Peter Barker, is accused of “failing to comply with a condition imposed under section 14 of the Public Order Act.”

The charges stem from protests organised by Fossil Free London and Greenpeace in October, which disrupted the Energy Intelligence Forum (EIF) held at the InterContinental hotel in Mayfair. The event, sarcastically dubbed the “oily money conference,” attracted fossil fuel executives and government ministers from around the world.

The protesters, including Thunberg, were required to leave the area under the imposed conditions. However, they chose to stand their ground, blocking entrances to the hotel where the EIF was taking place.

Thunberg and other activists could face fines of up to £2,500 if found guilty.

Prosecutor Luke Staton detailed the moment of Thunberg’s arrest, noting that she was informed of the condition by two police officers outside the hotel entrance. Despite the warning, Thunberg refused to comply and was arrested at 1:15 p.m.

Critics referred to the trial as an example of the UK’s crackdown on peaceful protests, with the arrests occurring after the then home secretary, Suella Braverman, lowered the threshold for police to enforce public order restrictions on protests causing “more than minor” disruption.

Climate activists gathered outside the court in solidarity with those on trial, holding placards that read “Climate protest is not a crime” and “Who are the real criminals?” Joanna Warrington, an organiser with Fossil Free London, criticised the UK for criminalising peaceful climate activists while hosting “climate criminals” in Mayfair hotels.

Warrington emphasised that fossil fuel corporations bear the most responsibility for the climate crisis, and activists will continue to hold them accountable despite legal challenges.