-Staff Writer-

Protesters against British Petroleum in San Francisco. Photo: Nisa I. Muhammad

SAN FRANCISCO – “Hey, hey, ho, ho, BP’s greed has got to go!” “BP did the crime, Now they’ve gotta do the time!”

Those chants and more were shouted from coast to coast in 20 cities including D.C., New York, Los Angeles, New Haven, Chicago and Philadelphia where demonstrations organized by the Seize BP Campaign were held May 12, outside of BP offices.

“The government must act now against BP. Bush and now Obama recklessly opened up these waters for offshore oil drilling without requiring the Oil Companies to provide adequate plans in the event of accidents, including catastrophic accidents such as occurred with the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater rig that left 11 workers dead,” stated Seize BP Campaign spokesperson Sarah Sloan.


“BP executives are hedging and refusing to commit to pay for all damages caused by their reckless, greed-driven and criminal action, just as we predicted. BP shares none of its super-profits when its operations are going smoothly–why should others pay the costs when BP’s recklessness makes things go awry,” Ms. Sloan emphasized.

Seize BP organizers assert that, “The fishing communities ruined by the Exxon Valdez spill fought for 20 years only to see the courts slash punitive damages to one tenth of the original amount, making them equal to the meager compensatory damages awarded.”

“Only those who were physically touched by the oil qualified to receive damages. That particular provision was outlawed by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 but that law also caps damages for Oil Companies responsible for offshore drilling accidents at $75 million on top of recovery costs.”

“Just how much BP pays should not be for its executives to decide. BP assets must be seized, and used to pay for cleanup costs and damages in full,” according to the organizers.

The group feels, “the U.S. government must seize BP and freeze its assets, and place those funds in trust to begin providing immediate relief to the working people throughout the Gulf states whose jobs, communities, homes and businesses are being harmed or destroyed by criminally negligent actions of the CEO, Board of Directors and senior management of BP.”

“200,000 gallons of oil a day, or more, are gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, and the flow is growing. The devastation to human beings, wildlife, natural habitat and fragile ecosystems will go on for decades. It constitutes an act of environmental violence, the consequences of which will be catastrophic.”

The protests continue to focus the light on British Petroleum (BP), which is in the hot seat since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill which is threatening wildlife, the environment and the economy with no end in site as millions of gallons of oil continues to flood the Gulf waters.

Harold Jameson was on his way home from work when he stopped and joined the protest.

“We have to do something. The people have to speak out against the injustices that happen with big corporations. They make billions and do whatever they want to do without regard for the environment or people. Workers are losing their jobs behind this oil spill, wildlife is dying and we don’t know all of the effects yet.”

“We’re the little people whose voice needs to be heard. How can they make so much money and be so irresponsible with life and the land? BP is greedy and something has to be done.”

According to the organization’s literature, “BP executives are banking that they can ride out the storm of bad publicity and still come out far ahead in terms of the billions in profit that BP will pocket.”

“People are up in arms because thousands of workers who have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of BP’s actions have to wait in line to compete for lower wage and hazardous clean-up jobs from BP. BP’s multi-millionaire executives are not asked to sacrifice one penny while working people have to plead for clean-up jobs.

It is imperative that the government seize BP’s assets now for their criminal negligence and begin providing immediate relief for the immense suffering and harm they have caused.”