After a private viewing last week, the Science Museum announced on Friday that the new Energy Revolution exhibition gallery would be opening in time for Easter today.

The ‘green energy’ gallery is controversially sponsored by Adani Green Energy, in a deal which has already attracted several protests, and the announcement of its opening sparked a coalition of a dozen or more groups to come together as a Fossil Free Science Museum Coalition and stage a major action on Saturday afternoon.

While campaigners held banners and handed out leaflets outside the museum, accompanied by a giant pink dodo, more than a hundred spent the afternoon inside raising awareness of the issues around the Science Museum’s deal with the huge coal and arms conglomerate, Adani.

The afternoon began with noisy chanting and a huge banner in the Energy Gallery, demanding “Oily Money Out”, along with opening speeches outside the Equinor-sponsored Wonderlab gallery [Equinor is the Norwegian fossil fuel company recently awarded a UK licence to extract new fuel from the Rosebank field in the North Sea].

Dropping black confetti along the way, the large crowd sang as they marched through the museum before stopping to hear several speeches, via a smuggled-in sound system, from activists representing Indigenous peoples repressed and displaced by Adani extractivism in India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

The connection with the genocide in Gaza was also forcefully made, with another giant banner and a reminder from a Syrian refugee that Adani is involved (with Elbit) in the manufacture of Hermes 900 drones used by the IDF.

In front of the Energy Revolution gallery itself, police filmed images of the crowd as they listened to a message from an Australian First Nations cultural custodian describing dodgy deals and the theft of Indigenous land for the massive Adani Carmichael coal mine in the northwest.

Several of the speakers highlighted how large corporations like Adani are engaging in new colonialist and environmentally unsound large-scale extractivist projects under the guise of clean green energy. In Sri Lanka for instance, Adani is building an extensive wind farm in an environmentally-sensitive coastal area despite scientific reports sounding the alarm.

Adani is the world’s biggest coal producer, and has been linked to fraud, corruption and human rights abuses. The Science Museum’s Director Ian Blatchford has championed the sponsorship, and is even accused of deliberately withholding from the museum’s board of trustees a due diligence ethics report which criticised the company.

Adani Green Energy try to distance themselves from their parent company, claiming they are providing clean solutions to the world’s energy needs and describing protesters as ‘armchair activists’, but campaigners point to strong financial links and the continuing human rights abuses in the name of green energy, and loudly call out “Greenwash”.

After more than two hours of protest at the museum, the afternoon culminated with a die-in on the entrance ramp, under a 3-storey tall banner depicting an Indian Adivasi woman and the message Adani Off Our Lands – Out Of This Museum.