Environmental campaigners interrupted Sadiq Khan’s mayor’s question time yesterday in protest at his policies on climate change.
The protesters were part of campaign groupsSwitched On London and Fuel Poverty Action, and around 20 protesters began chanting in the assembly chamber before being ejected by City Hall security staff.
The protest ended after around five minutes, with aggressive scenes as some of the protesters were forcibly removed.
The former Tooting MP and the rest of the Assembly left the chamber almost immediately and returned a few minutes after the protesters had left to resume the event.
The protestors announced themselves immediately after London Assembly Chair Jennette Arnold had finished her opening speech, with one protestor interrupting with chants of ‘We want affordable energy, we want climate justice’ before Mr Khan could begin answering his first question.
Others began echoing the chants and unfurled a banner which read ‘Sadiq, no broken climate promises’, and a tug of war ensued between them and security, who managed to remove the banner about two minutes later.
Although the protesters were not violent, they refused to be moved and security resorted to force to remove them in scenes that turned aggressive quickly, with people knocked over as security attempted to carry them out of the room one by one.
Before leaving, the protesters threw dozens of colourful paper airplanes into the auditorium, each with a different message to the Mayor on.
One read: “Set up an ambitious fully licensed public energy company for London.”
Speaking outside City Hall immediately afterwards, Switched On London spokesperson Emma Hughes said: “We’ve been trying to talk to Sadiq Khan for about a year and a half, we’ve had meetings with City Hall, and we just haven’t got anywhere.
“So today we were forced to go into Question Time to take our message to him directly.
“I’m really sad that he didn’t stay to listen to it.”
While the majority of the Assembly, including Mr Khan, left the room, Assembly member Andrew Boff remained and angrily called the protesters ‘democratic bullies’.
A City Hall spokesperson said: “The protesters were politely asked to desist but, when it was clear that they would not allow the meeting to continue, it was adjourned for a few minutes until order was restored.
“A City Hall security guard was injured by the protesters during that process.
“The London Assembly fully supports the rights of people to engage in peaceful protest, but this should not involve preventing democratically-elected Members from holding the Mayor to account on behalf of Londoners.”