Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/287/20250
BP Protest - no blood for oil
"WE HAVE to let it be known that the thing we would like to make sure, if Iraq changes regime is that there is a level playing field for the selection of oil companies to go in there..."
This was a quote from Lord Browne, the chief executive of BP at the end of October 2002, and this is what ISR was protesting against last Saturday 8 February in our national day of action against BP.
BP also has big links with New Labour which is why it has become known as 'Blair's petroleum'. Many New Labour policy advisors have ended up working for BP in high positioned jobs, and there are a number of BP executives on New Labour think tanks. Blair's close links to BP bosses indicate Blair's highest priority is keeping his big business friends happy.
The link between oil and the war in Iraq is clear for everyone to see. The support our protests got, not only in London but across the country show the huge opposition there is towards war on Iraq.
In London ISR members and supporters took part in a lively protest outside the BP station in Park Lane. With a huge Youth Against the War banner strewn out in front of the station, it was impossible for passers by and cars to not notice there was an anti-war protest going on. Before starting the protest members handed in a letter to the BP station workers, explaining why they were protesting and offering support for them to receive a living wage.
16 ISR members and supporters successfully blockaded the BP petrol station on Narborough Road in Leicester. The support from passers-by and motorists was tremendous, with applause for the speeches through the megaphone. Hardly any cars pulled into the petrol station despite it being on a main road that was jammed with traffic.
In Sheffield the 20 protesters had to get used to the sound of cars honking their horns in support of the action.
People were pleased that ISR were making the link between the war on Iraq and the multinational companies who want to control the vast oil reserves there.
Simon Beasley reported that the demonstration in Coventry received a lot of positive feedback from passers-by, beeping their car horns and giving the group the thumbs up.
Members in Bristol had a similar experience while the response on the street was overwhelming with hundreds of leaflets handed out and many dozens of people stopping to talk and sign our petition.
Nine -year-old Jade said that she enjoyed the day very much and was happy to show that people her age don't want war with people dying.
Finally in Manchester, many drivers wanting to refuel followed the call to boycott BP and drove off straightaway. One driver said: "I'll never use BP again in my entire life".
In The Socialist 14 February 2003: