LONDON Six female Greenpeace activists were arrested on Thursday after climbing London's Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, in protest over plans by oil producer Royal Dutch Shell to carry out drilling in the Arctic circle.
The women, who began scaling the Shard in the early hours of the morning by climbing onto the roof of London Bridge station at its base, unfurled a green flag bearing the words "Save the Arctic" within view of all of Shell's three London offices.
Police said they had arrested the group on suspicion of aggravated trespass. A police officer was seen waiting at the top of the Shard in a live video feed from a camera worn by one of the climbers during the 15-hour ascent.
The pyramidal, jagged-topped Shard towers 310 metres (1,017 ft) above the south bank of the River Thames.
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 cancelled 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 U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic may 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.
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)