Six Greenpeace Non Violent Direct Actions

Taking non violent direct action is an important part of how Greenpeace achieves change. From climbing a power station to performing a concert in a museum, direct action can take many forms! Here are six actions to give a flavour of what they can look like.


North Sea oil rig occupation

June 2019 • Climate Emergency campaign

A crew of Greenpeace activists set out to stop a BP oil rig setting out drill a new well in the North Sea.

Occupying a platform on the side of the rig, the climbers had enough supplies for several days. But with some sneaky re-supplying from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, they stayed in place for two full weeks.

We shutdown a BP oil rig

It's been 23 hours since two activists boarded the BP oil rig headed for the North Sea – and the activists aren't going anywhere.BP’s rig expects to drill for 30 million barrels of more oil. We already have more than we can afford to burn if we want to keep our planet. 🌍This is about more than just money – it’s about our future. #BPShutdown #NoMoreOil #ClimateEmergency

Posted by Greenpeace UK on Monday, June 10, 2019

Greenpeace climbers and boat drivers were arrested and went to court in Scotland, where they received community service sentences.

A pop-up doctor’s surgery at Volkswagen HQ

October 2018 • Ditch Diesel campaign

Activists accompanied by real doctors shut down Volkswagen’s head office. They transformed it into a doctors surgery, offering real tests to the car company’s staff.

Activists dressed as patients chained themselves in front of the doors for several hours. They were arrested and charged with aggravated trespass.

Gatecrashing the ‘bankers banquet’

July 2019 • Climate Emergency campaign

On July 2019, activists interrupted chancellor Philip Hammond as he gave a speech to the UK’s top city bosses.

The activists read their own climate emergency speech and disrupted the dinner on live television. Nobody was arrested.

Monkey business at Burger King HQ

September 2019 • Save the Amazon campaign

Activist performers dressed as spider monkeys and their minders communicated with Burger King customers outside their flagship restaurant in London’s Leicester Square.

Burger King buys huge quantities of meat and soya from Brazil, where farmers are deliberately burning the Amazon Rainforest to make way for more ranches and plantations.

Climbers unfurled a giant banner calling on Burger King to stop ‘flame grilling’ the Amazon, artists down below created a chalk mural where members of the public were encouraged to write a message to Burger King.

No to nuclear: a European mass action

March 2016 • Nuclear power campaign

12 UK activists travelled to Belgium and shut down a nuclear power station. This was part of a wider action involving nuclear plants in six European countries. The UK activists were part of a 240-strong group from all over the world. Their aim was to urge governments to close down ageing reactors on safety grounds.

no nuclear tape outside nuclear power station

Greenpeace activists protest with tape bearing the message “The End” against the ageing Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium. © Philip Reynaers / Greenpeace

Protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits scaled boundary fences at plants in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Spain and hoisted large banners with images of cracking reactors and projected the words “The End” onto walls. Three UK activists were arrested – one was a climber, and two others had climbed the fence into the nuclear plant.

A climate emergency at BP’s head office

May 2019 • Climate Emergency campaign

In the small hours of the morning, a huge team of activists arrived at BP’s London HQ carrying five large metal boxes. Each box contained two activists and enough food to last for seven days.

They placed the boxes in front of all the doors, and more activists climbed on top while others blocked access to the boxes by attaching to each other with lock-on arm tubes.

After eight hours, the activists on top of the boxes left the scene without being arrested. Several hours later the police cut open the boxes to remove and arrest the activists inside.

Climbers also scaled the front of the office to deploy a banner with the words ‘climate emergency’. The police made them leave earlier than planned, but they still avoided arrest.

What's next?