A weekend occupation by more than 20 people took place at London’s Science Museum over the weekend.  Groups involved included Scientists for XR, Youth Action for Climate Justice, and INSAF India.

They targeted the newly opened Energy Revolution gallery due to its sponsorship by the Indian corporation Adani, which is the largest private coal developer in the world and also provides equipment to the Israeli Defence Force used in the genocide in Gaza.

On Friday evening the activists smuggled in balloons and black paper which they used to create a large art piece – a mound of black coal – in the centre of the gallery. Their plan was to interact with the public on Saturday after their first night of occupation, including a People’s Assembly to discuss the controversial sponsorship in the afternoon.

Police were called, but no arrests were made. However, perhaps embarrassed by the presence of the protest and their message about the climate-wrecking sponsors, the museum decided to prevent access to the gallery for the whole of Saturday, although supporters did come with more banners which they held near the entrance.

TV naturalist Chris Packham supported the action with an opening speech on Friday in which he spoke of his revulsion towards the sponsorship deal.

The protest ended peacefully on Sunday morning after another night in the gallery.

Most cultural institutions have bowed to public pressure and abandoned fossil fuel sponsorship, but the Science Museum still accepts money from major climate criminals Adani, BP, and Equinor (the Norwegian oil company recently awarded a licence to extract new reserves at the Rosebank field in the North Sea).

One of the scientists protesting was Dr Aaron Thierry, who says “The science is clear that there can be no more fossil fuel extraction if we want a liveable future. In partnering with a subsidiary of Adani, the largest private producer of coal on the planet, the Science Museum is blatantly ignoring the science. It’s disgraceful.”