Socialist Worker

Protest at BP's crude profits, one year on from Deepwater disaster

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2248

A range of protesters laid siege to oil company BP’s annual general meeting in east London last week.

The protests came almost a year on from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, which saw millions of gallons of oil pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for six months.

Fishing workers who had travelled from the US were barred from the meeting.

Mike Roberts, a shrimper, said, “That is typical tactics from BP. When you have got that kind of money you write your kind of history and make your own reality.”

Mike says few people in the Gulf feel confident about eating fish caught there. His boat had not been out since the disaster last April.

He added, “They looked at our passports and asked us if we were all from Louisiana. They didn’t let us in because they didn’t want the truth to be told.”

Diane Wilson, from Texas, daubed her hands with oil in protest. She said the only way to stop future accidents was to make company bosses responsible.

She said, “My community is dead. We’ve worked five generations there and now we’ve got a dead community.”

She was arrested for trying to enter the Excel conference centre.

A loud protest of construction workers from the BP biofuels plant in Hull (see here) did manage to march into the centre—despite the efforts of BP security and the police.


A group of ten environmental campaigners also evaded guards, but were ejected as they reached the stage.

Members of First Nation groups in Alberta, northern Canada, where BP is developing its tar sands projects, also protested.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo said that her father, a hunter, has started to find tumours inside animals. She blames the use of natural gas by BP for polluting the air and water.

Inside the meeting, BP chair Carl-Henric Svanberg tried to prevent Antonia Juhasz, an author, from reading a statement from Keith Jones, whose son Gordon was one of the 11 workers to die when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.

“His son died aboard the rig and you don’t want to hear his voice?” she interrupted, before she read out the statement, “This was not an act of god. BP and Halliburton could have prevented the blow-out. You were rolling the dice with my son’s life and you lost.”

She was slow hand clapped and heckled by the fat cat shareholders.

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Tue 19 Apr 2011, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2248
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