Climate change activists tonight occupied Gordon Ramsay’s three-star Michelin restaurant in Chelsea and forced it to close for the night as they call for a plant-based future.
It comes after two eco-zealots were arrested on Friday after attempting to confront David Attenborough while he enjoyed a Michelin-starred meal out.
But tonight, members of Animal Rebellion entered Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Hospital Road, Chelsea at around 6pm on Saturday.
Wearing smart casual clothing they walked in and sat down peacefully at tables reserved for guests of the high-end restaurant.
They held mock menus on green paper outlining the environmental costs of items served on the restaurant’s menu, including steak and veal.
In a statement, the group said that they are campaigning for a plant-based food system and the creation of a mass-rewilding programme, as well as support for farmers and fishing communities in transitioning to a low-carbon world.
They said on social media they would not leave the restaurant until they were removed, although left willingly after it shut.
But a spokesperson for the restaurant called the protest ‘deeply disrespectful’ after it was forced to close its doors.
Activists entered the restaurant before sitting down at empty tables and holding mock menus
A representative for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay called the protest ‘deeply disrespectful’ (Pictured: Gordon Ramsay)
Eco-zealot’s attempted to confront David Attenborough while he enjoyed Michelin-starred meal out on Thursday. Pictured: A climate change taken down by police for trying to confront Sir David Attenborough
Sir David, 96, had spent Thursday in the harbour town of Weymouth to film a TV documentary about fishing and went to the nearby restaurant in the evening
Lucia Alexander, a 39-year-old auxiliary nurse from the east of England, said that the restaurant was a ‘perfect example’ of inequality in the UK.
‘This restaurant is the perfect example of the inequality we face in the UK right now.
‘Whilst Gordon Ramsay serves food costing a minimum of £155 per person, more than two million people are relying on food banks in this cost-of-living crisis,’ she said in a statement provided by the group.
‘Instead of restaurants making colossal profits at the expense of animals, workers, and our climate, we need to feed everyone by supporting farmers and fishing communities in a transition to a plant-based food system.
‘A plant-based food system requires 75% less farmland to grow food, allowing us to feed millions of additional people without the reliance on exploitative and inefficient animal farming industries. This is the answer to the cost-of-living and climate crises.’
The Metropolitan Police were called to the scene shortly after 6.30pm and the restaurant was closed down.
The occupied a large portion of the restaurant and refused to leave until it closed for the night
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Hospital Road, Chelsea, has three Michelan stars and charges significant prices for dishes which include veal
The group of activists entered the restaurant at around 6pm on Saturday evening
They sat side-by-side with already-seated customers at the high-end eatery
After it had been shut for the night, the activists agreed to leave the premises and walked out, meaning no arrests were made.
They posted videos online of them entering and sitting down in the restaurant, as well as leaving later in the evening.
The group said in a statement on social media: ‘This luxury restaurant epitomises the inequality we face in the UK right now, as well as denial of the severity of the #ClimateCrisis.
‘We need a dramatic shift in the UK’s food system, and we all need to take responsibility for that.
‘We will continue to highlight the inaction of governments, corporations, and restaurants like this.
‘We ALL have a part to play in the face of the climate emergency and cost-of-living crisis. For society, climate and animals, we cannot afford to continue this way.’
A spokesperson for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay said: ‘Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs.
‘However, to force your way into a restaurant, disturbing hard-working staff going about their jobs and ruining the evening of guests who have waited months for their reservations is incredibly inappropriate and deeply disrespectful.’
A spokesperson for the Met said: ‘Police were called to a restaurant in Royal Hospital Road, SW3, shortly before 18.30hrs on Saturday, 19 November to reports of a group of protesters refusing to leave the premises.
‘Officers attended. The restaurant was closed and the protesters left. There were no arrests.’
The group said on social media the restaurant ‘epitomises the inequality we face in the UK right now, as well as denial of the severity of the Climate Crisis’
Many of those attending the restaurant dressed up for the protest, wearing smart clothes similar to the real clientele
On Friday, two activists from the group were arrested after reportedly approaching Sir David Attenborough at a Michelin-starred restaurant on the south coast.
Emma Smart, 45, allegedly caused a disturbance at the Catch at the Old Fish Market in Weymouth, Dorset.
She was asked to leave the venue before being dragged out and detained by police.
Ms Smart, 45, approached Sir David’s table and tried to deliver a letter to him and have a five-minute chat about ‘telling the truth’ about climate change.
She added: ‘We don’t need another documentary series showing us that we are losing, some 150 species going extinct globally every single day. What we need is action.’
Sir David, 96, had spent Thursday in the harbour town of Weymouth to film a TV documentary about fishing and went to the nearby restaurant in the evening.
Emma Smart, 45, previously came under fire when it was revealed she and her partner Andy drove 80,975 miles visiting 50 countries in 858 days in an 18-year-old Toyota from 2012 to 2016
Ms Smart, an activist for the campaign group Animal Rebellion, allegedly caused a disturbance at the Catch at the Old Fish Market in Weymouth, Dorset
Ms Smart was previously imprisoned over an Insulate Britain climate protest. Pictured: The Catch at the Old Fish Market in Dorset
Smart’s letter to the climate documentary presenter read: ‘Dear David, I still want to meet you!
‘I’m from Weymouth – my community will be devastated in the climate crisis.
‘Today is the one year anniversary that I went to prison for peacefully protesting government inaction.
‘There are 35 ordinary people in prison right now for environmental protest. Please speak up for them. For all life on earth.
‘I’m a scientist. A biologist. Please meet with me – just five min.’
Ms Smart previously came under fire when it was revealed she and her partner Andy drove 80,975 miles visiting 50 countries in 858 days in an 18-year-old Toyota from 2012 to 2016.
She was also given four-month sentence for Insulate Britain’s M25 stunt in October 2021 and went on hunger strike in April following a protest with 24 fellow scientists at the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
In a statement later released by Smart through Animal Rebellion, she said she targeted the restaurant as its ‘expensive menu was a symbol of excess and inequality.’
Ms Smart said: ‘The Catch is a symbol of excess and inequality in today’s world, Weymouth has average wages amongst the lowest in the UK and is at huge risk of sea level rises.
‘Yet this restaurant still continues business as usual amongst the worst cost-of-living crisis many will ever experience.
‘Sir David is in a unique position to tell the truth about the biodiversity crisis.
‘He has the chance to leave a legacy of love, care, and of being the forerunner of a better world.’
Dorset Police said Ms Smart, from Weymouth, was arrested on Thursday evening after allegedly causing a disturbance and refusing to comply with officers after they asked her to leave the restaurant.
She was asked to leave the venue before being dragged out and detained by police
Mrs Smart approached Sir David’s table and tried to deliver a letter to him and have a five minute chat about ‘telling the truth’ about climate change
Dorset Police said Ms Smart, from Weymouth, was arrested after allegedly causing a disturbance and refusing to comply with officers after they asked her to leave the restaurant
She was charged with failing to comply with a Section 35 direction and will appear at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on December 21.
Ms Smart has previously tried to get in touch with Sir David about the climate crisis – and received a response – when she sent him a letter from prison.
In her letter to the television star she said she had been listening to the radio, which had told her it was the warmest New Year’s Day on record. She wrote: ‘I invite you to please meet with me to discuss the role you could play in this critical year.’
In a written note, dated January 27, 2022, David Attenborough replied that he had decided to reduce his public appearances since his 95th birthday.
He wrote: ‘Dear Emma Smart, Thank you for your letter.
‘Needless to say, I share your concern about what humanity has done to our planet and the urgent need to do something about it.
‘I have been doing my best to draw attention to the situation for a very long time. But last May, when I reached my 95th birthday, I decided that the time was approaching when I should start to reduce my public commitments.
‘I was already committed to speak at the COP meeting in Glasgow in December and I thought that should be my final contribution to the public debate.
‘In due course I made the speech. Now I hope you will forgive me if I abide by my birthday resolutions. Yours sincerely, David Attenborough.’
Ms Smart has previously tried to get in touch with Sir David about the climate crisis – and received a response – when she sent him a letter from prison
Sir David wrote a response to Smart, saying he had decided to reduce his public commitments since turning 95
Smart has publicly shared her desire to join forces with Sir David before – and Thursday was her latest attempt to speak to him
Smart shared the letter on Twitter, saying she has ‘huge love, admiration and respect for David’, but added ‘with three years to prevent collapse of our earth we cannot stop… we must step up!’
The protester was previously imprisoned over an Insulate Britain climate protest.
During her time in HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, she was moved to the hospital wing after undertaking a hunger strike over her sentence. She was released in January.
She was handed a four-month sentence for taking part in a protest on October 8, 2021 on the M25, which brought Britain’s motorways to a standstill.
Insulate Britain eco mob’s Emma Smart, 44 urged more eco-zealots to step up and continue the group’s extreme campaign
Ms Smart went on a hunger strike last year after she was given a four-month sentence for protests on the M25 with Insulate Britain
Smart (top row, middle) posed with eight other Insulate Britain eco-zealots outside the High Court after they were jailed for the group’s motorway stunts that caused chaos for Brits in 2021
Smart, an ecologist by trade, said at the time: ‘It was quite an extreme campaign, you know, going onto the motorway but we’re in an extreme situation and I felt I had to do what was necessary.
‘I stepped up, we all need to step up. Non-violent civil disobedience is the only way we’re going to enact change.
‘We don’t need nine of us, or 20 of us in prison, we all need to put our liberty on the line because we are facing losing everything.’
Following two months of repeated motorway chaos caused by Insulate Britain, Smart told the High Court that she was there to ‘ensure future survival’ and compared watching the climate crisis to watching a child trapped in a burning house.
‘She said: ‘I’m asking when you consider my sentence that my actions are proportionate to the crisis we are facing, where 8,500 people die a year from cold and hunger in their own homes. I cannot stand by and watch.
‘I would run to them. Our Government is betraying us, our vulnerable people and our children’s future. I will not be a bystander while our Government fails and betrays its people, I will continue to do what is necessary.’
Her prison sentence for the M25 climate change stunt followed revelations that the protester had embarked on an 81,000 mile trip around the world in a diesel-fuelled Toyota in May 2021.
She and her partner Andy drove 80,975 miles visiting 50 countries in 858 days in an 18-year-old Toyota from 2012 to 2016.
The biologist has faced allegations of hypocrisy after undertaking a gas-guzzling 81,000-mile drive across the globe with her husband Andy Smith. Above: The couple are pictured with their diesel-fuelled Toyota before the trip in 2012
Emma Smart (second from left), 44, was charged with obstructing traffic in Weymouth and Dorchester and was also pictured among the eco protesters blocking the roads near the M25 at Dartford
The couple broke their global trip into four phases and the first leg of their trip saw them to, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden. Pictured: Ms Shaw’s full trip from 2012-2016
Ms Shaw and Insulate Britain protesters blocked a roundabout at a junction on the M25 on October 13, 2021
The former biologist was pictured with climate change demonstrators blocking the M25 at junction 31 last year
Emma Smart is pictured with retired GP Dr Diana Warner outside HMP Bronzefield in Surrey after their release from prison in January
Emma Smart, with her husband Andy Smith. He said he was ‘terrified’ for her after she began her hunger strike in prison but supported her choice
The activist justified the trip by saying she and her partner would produce ’62 per cent less CO2 per day’ travelling compared with living in their shared house of four back in the UK.
The couple broke their global trip into four phases and regularly blogged about their travels inside their 4×4.
The first leg of their trip saw them travel to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Poland.
This was followed by visits to Portugal, Morocco, Western Sahara, Spain and Andorra.
Ahead of the trip Ms Smart told the BBC that it had taken ’18 months of planning and saving’ and ‘working extremely hard’ for it to go ahead.
But she came under fire on social media for what some saw as ‘hypocrisy’.
One person tweeted: ”This is one of the #InsulateBritain protestors Emma Smart who felt ‘compelled’ to stop traffic on the M25 this morning…hypocrisy at its very finest! 81k miles the trip!’
Smart’s attempted confrontation on Thursday of the much-loved Frozen Planet presenter divided opinion on Twitter.
Fellow eco-warriors showed their support for her actions, with one saying: ‘We love you Emma!’ and another saying ‘Thank you for being there’.
But others disagreed with her approaching of Sir David. One said he already cares ‘deeply’ about the planet, and is the wrong person to blame, whilst another user condemned her ‘arrogance’.
Smart’s attempted confrontation on Thursday of the much-loved Frozen Planet presenter divided opinion on Twitter