London Rising Tide Target Shell’s Revolting Reputation on Saro-Wira Day
Rossport Solidarity Rolling Shell Blockade
On 24th January London Rising Tide once again helped their friends at Rhythms of Resistance Samba Band and others keep Shell aware that the campaign to prevent the
Damaging high pressure gas pipeline and refinery near Rossport in County Mayo, Ireland is still rolling.
…and rolling is what it was, with even a bit of rocking. We tried the new tactic with measured success of short spells at a series of North London Shell garages blockading the entrance and exits with band, banners and bandanas (there was also mention of bananas when it came to irate drivers).
Holloway Road was the first stop where having set up and told the gas guzzlers on the forecourt that we were not blocking them in, one of them decided to drive at us from behind. Having stepped back just in time, banging the window as it surged past, the driver got out of her 4 x 4 (funny that, it always seems to be) and violently threatened to do unspeakable things to us as individuals from about 2 inches away. More fossil fuelled driver lunacy followed and we decided to get rolling to the next garage when pushing came to pull us away as plod were summoned.
On arriving at the familiar territory of the Shell Upper Street garage we kitted up and lasted a bit longer, even turning away petrol thirsty black cab drivers, before more violence threatening behaviour from people blockaded out. The thin line of Samba resisted and held out as we turned away the ubiquitous Islington SUVs. The usual support from the Fire Brigade was good for keeping up our spirits.
After that it was back to Holloway Rd with less abuse but more plod and we retired to the pub when they called for back-up since the final whistle of the Spurs v Arsenal game was about to be blown along with plod’s patience.
On reflection over out stout we agreed it was desperately sad that such anger of particularly 4 x 4 drivers only had the unhealthy outlet of threatening us. Especially when Shell’s statuspheric disregard of the planet’s atmosphere and the atmosphere of living in Mayo, Ogoniland or Sakhalin seemed a better place to vent their frustration.
11am We arrived at the Arts Council for the Press Conference to unveil the Platform organised Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa and his 8 mates hung by the Nigerian government at the complicity of Shell – who have still not been brought to justice for their role in this state murder. The full sized ‘battlebus’ by Sokari Douglas Camp is emblazoned with ‘Genocide against the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta’.
1.45pm From there we head to the Natural History Museum to visit the Shell-sponsored Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. We all got inside the museum despite having bags containing banners, leaflets and other paraFinalia (sic) searched. Shell is using the wonderful images of this prestige exhibition to image-launder their revolting Fossil Fuelish destruction of exactly the same species as the photographs depict –such as the Western Pacific Grey Whale, the very survival of which is threatened by Shell’s development at Sakhalin Island in Russia. We managed to get into the exhibition to leaflet and talk to punters newly disgusted by Shell’s latest greenwash spill. Many agreed to take action and contact Michael Dixon, the NHM boss (0207-942-5000/ email@example.com) to vent their rejection of the oily sponsorship veneer.
We are eventually thrown out, to be reunited with our Ranteuse who has voiced his disgust in usual forthright terms without the use of an unnecessary amplifier. Outside we continue to leaflet punters and set up alternative photographic exhibition THE SHELL WILD LIE. This contains the real images of Shell affected communities like Rossport and Durban (where their gas plant leaks noxious asthma-increasing fumes across the city) and the wildlife threatened by their climate destabilising oil and gas proliferation. We are visited by a single Plod who does his duty mumbling ‘You’re not listening to me so I’m off’. We are handed an excuse sheet by NHM staff ‘Working with Shell: info for our visitors’ which says: ‘Shell is taking a reputable scientific approach to addressing the balance between energy needs and environmental protection.’ That’ll be hanging activists in Nigeria, imprisoning local people from Rossport and directly threatening species with extinction then!
Let the museum know what you think, after all their leaflet asks you to comment on their acceptance of this blood money.
6.15pm We meet up with our friends from the wonderful samba band Rhythms of Resistance to blockade the Shell station in Old Street. They take the entrance and us the exit unfurling ‘DANGER – SHELL HELL IN OPERATION’ and ‘STOP SHELL HELL IN NW IRELAND NOW’ banners wearing our now slightly oily (S)hell Suits. One Rising Tider has their foot run over by an irate 4x4 driver feeling threatened by his own insecurity. Solidarity actions were called by the Rossport Camp and activists in Durban to mark Saro-Wira day and we managed to hold the blockade for 45 mins until plod turned up in an aggressive fashion. We retired to the pub and half an hour later went back and continued the blockade. After 15 mins plod turned up mob handed with 2 vans and 8 squad cars driving dangerously among us. We scattered and lived to fight another day. It’s never too late to take creative action to make the world a greener, more joyous place, so check out: