(Corrects headline and lead to 'Western Europe's'. Moscow's
Mercury City is taller.)
By Mark Anderson
LONDON, July 11 Greenpeace activists scaled
Western Europe's tallest building in London on Thursday in a
protest over plans by oil producer Royal Dutch Shell to
carry out drilling in the Arctic circle.
The six women, who started their illegal climb in the early
hours of the morning by climbing on the roof of London Bridge
station, at the base of the building, hope to unfurl scenic
posters of the Arctic within view of all of Shell's three London
Ambulances waited below while the climbers posted live video
of their ascent to Greenpeace's website. They face the
possibility of being arrested after a gruelling 16-hour climb,
Greenpeace spokeswoman Sara Ayech said.
"If we can get to the top of that skyscraper and do what
we're planning then Shell's top executives will look out of
their office windows and see the beauty of the Arctic towering
above them," Victoria Henry, one of the climbers, said.
Greenpeace, which has long campaigned to seal off the Arctic
from drilling, said the activists were carrying a "huge work of
art" in their backpacks as they make their way up the building
using safety ropes.
The newly built Shard stands 310 metres (1,017 ft) above the
south bank of the River Thames, making it the tallest building
in Western Europe.
A spokesperson for Shell said: "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 in mind."
Shell canceled its 2013 Arctic offshore drill season after
numerous troubles there last year. But it plans to send ships to
study sites around oil prospects in the Chukchi and Beaufort
seas, according to permit applications.
The Arctic may still hold 13 percent of the world's
undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas.
"Shell is leading the oil companies' drive into the Arctic,
investing billions in its Alaskan and Russian drilling
programmes," Greenpeace said in a statement.
(Reporting By Mark Anderson; Editing by Michael Roddy)