Sit-in by climate activists disrupts Paris energy conference

PARIS (Reuters) - An energy industry conference in Paris was halted on Wednesday when climate activists staged a sit-in in front of the stage where industry executives were addressing the conference.

The activists, from environmental groups ANV-COP21 and Friends of the Earth, were protesting against energy extraction projects which campaigners say are contributing to climate change.

A group of about 20 mostly-female activists, some dressed in high-visibility jackets, pushed pass security guards to enter the conference room in the InterContinental Paris Le Grand hotel, which was hosting the European Annual Gas Conference.

They walked in single file into the center of the room, sat down in silence in front of the stage, and linked their arms, according to a Reuters reporter in the room. Organizers announced that the session was suspended. Conference participants were ushered out.

Another group of activists gathered in the foyer of the upscale hotel, chanting anti-fossil fuel slogans.

“We want companies to leave fossil fuels in the ground. We think governments are not doing enough for climate change and we need to put more pressure on governments and companies,” said one of the activists, who declined to give her name.

Participants at the conference included executives from energy firms such as Total, BP, Shell, as well as executives from banks involved in financing energy projects.

Writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Richard Lough