As protests go, it is of the quieter, less obtrusive variety.
Tucked away in a leafy square behind Piccadilly, ten environmental activists sat in containers doing origami and watching Game of Thrones.
The Greenpeace campaigners had arrived at BP’s London headquarters at 3am on Monday, swiftly lowering five custom-built shipping containers down from cranes to block each of the company’s main entrances.
Simultaneously, six climbers scaled the wall on the other side of the building, and set about hanging a banner from the roof and letters in each window spanning the front of the building, spelling out “climate emergency.”
“There are nine windows,” one activist said excitedly, “The symmetry is really good. It’s perfect actually.”
The protest, which successfully rendered the entire building out of use, was timed to coincide with BP’s AGM, which takes place on Tuesday in Aberdeen.
Greenpeace is demanding that the company immediately ends all exploration for new oil and gas and switches to investing only in renewable energy.
It hopes that by shutting down its headquarters, the subject of climate change will be thrust to the top of the agenda when the company addresses investors.
Mel Evans, a Greenpeace spokeswoman, told the Telegraph: “BP’s current plans for sticking to the Paris climate agreement are fantasy. They can’t continue drilling for oil if they are going to take climate change seriously.
“They are operating as if it’s the 20th century with old methods and old ways. The way to bring things back from the brink of disaster is to stop drilling for oil and gas go 100 per cent renewable. If not, they should shut up shop and clear out.”
Greenpeace said its activists would continue the protest until they receive an acceptable response from BP but by the evening, most had been removed by the police.
BP has acknowledged that renewable energy sources will be the world's main source of power within two decades, accounting for around 30 per cent of the world's electricity supplies by 2040, up from around 10 per cent today.
But it also expects continued high demand for oil and gas production and has plans to expand production by 16 per cent by 2025, according to recent figures.
In a statement released in response to the Greenpeace protest, BP said: “We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge, but impeding safe entry and exit from an office building in this way is dangerous and clearly a matter for the police to resolve as swiftly as possible.”
Key members of staff were awoken between 4am and 5am on Monday to be informed that their head office was under a blockade.
Most of the 300 employees based in the building were either told to work from home or to go to one of BP’s other offices scattered across London and the south east.
Insiders were keen to play down the impact, noting that most of the top brass, including group chief executive Bob Dudley, were already in Aberdeen preparing for the AGM and that regardless, the company had contingency plans for such eventualities.
One said: “It is certainly inconvenient but we have a degree of flexibility and nothing has been overly disrupted. We will just leave it to the police to work out how to resolve things safely and quickly.”
The uniformed officers manning the police cordon were not entirely sure how things would play out.
Asked how long the protest might continue, one said: “As long as the protesters are here” adding hopefully: “We have asked them politely to go.”
The action had been long planned and carefully organised.
The five shipping containers, each weighing several tonnes, were designed to perfectly fit each entrance to the office building.
The seasoned activists locked inside, two per container, were male and female and aged between 25 and 60,
Inside the reinforced boxes, they have enough food and drink to last a week, as well as portable lavatories and plenty of art supplies to decorate the walls.
There is no natural light but Ms Evans insisted that the activists felt so passionately about the cause they were determined to stick it out.
“They are all trained in health and safety and in non violent communication,” she said. They are very well prepared, both physically and mentally.
“They have got phones and we are in constant touch with them. It is their choice and shows their level of commitment and appreciation of the scale of the urgency of the threat we face.”
Two or three protesters were also chained to the top of each container while five more chained themselves together across a fire exit.
Greenpeace declared the blockade “a huge win for climate action worldwide”.
Tonight police confirmed that no protestors were left at the scene, although police remained in the area.
A total of 10 people were arrested for aggravated trespass and remained in police custody this evening.