Shell protests spread to the UK

December 6, 2021

A local court application has been unsuccessful.

A group of about 100 South Africans living in the United Kingdom have added their voices to the ongoing protests against Shell’s seismic survey for oil and gas along the West Coast of South Africa.

The group gathered outside the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square to take a stand against what they have labelled as “harsh punishment of Africans”.

Locally, South Africans have been pitching together to try and stop Shell’s planned survey off the West Coast. Protesters have taken to venues like Hout Bay, Muizenberg, Nahoon Beach and Mzamba Beach to make their position on the matter clear.

An online petition against Shell’s activities has already gained more than 396 000 signatures. Two groups have also launched urgent applications on the matter to the High Court. The applications are for interdicts to prohibit Shell from carrying on with their oil-finding expeditions.

One of these applications has gone unsuccessful. The High Court still needs to decide the second application, which was only launched late last week.

In the UK, the hashtag #stoppunishingafrica demonstration was organised to oppose Shell’s seismic survey as well as to reject perceived vaccine apartheid and international travel bans imposed on most African countries in light of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

Protesters are concerned that Shell’s surveys will disturb marine life, which could lead to the collapse of entire ecosystems. In turn, this can have distasteful consequences for marine life in general.

Shell has argued that the kind of surveys they do are routine and generally pose a very low risk to the environment. They also added that they take extensive measures to prevent any risk to ocean life.

The court’s decision on the new application should be handed down early this week.