Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Burma junta's exports lose sparkle

From the Financial Times:
The oil giants Total and Chevron have rejected calls to divest their business interests in Burma. However, other western businesses have been re-evaluating their links with the regime. Jewellery firms Cartier and Bulgari are to boycott gems from Burma, and Jewelers of America, which represents US retail chains, has called on Congress to close a loophole in a US ban that allows Burmese gemstones to enter through third countries. Rolls Royce has stopped servicing aero engines for Burma's state carrier, causing it to suspend flights. Full story

Protest targets Oxford petrol station

From the Oxford Mail:
Human rights campaigners in Oxford are targeting a city petrol station in their fight to raise awareness of oppression in Burma.

Protesters gathered outside the Total petrol station in Garsington Road, to publicise links between the French company and Burma's military regime.

Campaigners were out in action on Saturday and handed out flyers to passers-by.

Jane Alexander, a carer from Headington, said: "Total is the fourth largest oil company in the world and one of the biggest foreign investors in Burma, so it's a logical target." Full story

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Total HQ and petrol station targeted again in London

Protesters again picketed Total's London HQ in Cavendish Square on the morning of Wednesday 24th October. The date marked the 12th anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention. One activist lay in a bodybag for over an hour, attracting the attention of passers by.
Several of the protesters subsequently joined the quite large demonstrations that afternoon outside the Chinese and Burmese embassies, and a vigil in Parliament Square.

On Thursday evening, the protesters returned to the Total garage near Baker St station, where they had the previous week managed to get the 24-hour station temporarily shut down.

There will be another action at Total's HQ on Wednesday 31st October, 8.30am - 10.30am, outside 33 Cavendish square (Oxford Circus tube), which is between Starbucks and the Royal Bank of Scotland, very near the back of John Lewis. There may also be an additional action next week.

3rd Total demo and blockade in Cardiff

20.10.2007 23:32

Cardiff activists demonstrated for the third saturday in a row, outside a busy Total petrol station on the city's Cathedral Road.

A Total petrol station in Cardiff was once again the target for activists demonstrating against the oil company's business activities with the Burmese military junta. Initially demonstrators picketed the station for about an hour, successfully persuading a number of potential customers to turn away. When further people arrived at the demo and there was around 20 of us, the forecourt's entrance and exit were blockaded for a time, and no cars could fill up. We lost count of the number of car horns that honked in support of the action. A couple of annoyed customers became a little aggressive, threatening to run over one stubborn blockader, but the reaction was generally positive.

Reposted from:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Danes pull out of Burma oil stocks

From Global Pensions:

DENMARK - A Danish pension fund has announced it has acted to divest its DKK65m (US$12m) holding in oil companies working in Burma.

PKA which manages DKK114bn (US$21.5bn) for eight pension funds, said the board had taken this decision due to political sentiment in the country.

A PKA spokesman told Global Pensions: “Following a statement from Per Stig Møller, the minister for foreign affairs, that he would have preferred sanctions on Myanmar Oil and Gas to be put in place, we felt unable to retain our shares in companies working there.”

ATP, the Danish labour market pension fund, announced yesterday it would sell its stakes in Total and other oil companies working in the politically troubled state.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trade unions call for Total boycott

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Trade unionists called Tuesday for workers across the world to boycott companies that do business with Myanmar's repressive military regime, singling out French oil company Total SA.

Guy Ryder, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation, said he wanted to keep up the pressure on corporations that help prop up the Myanmar regime.

He drew a parallel with trade union boycotts of South African goods to force changes to the apartheid system of racial segregation.

"Our intent and our ambition is indeed to mobilize trade unions nationally and public opinion to bring that type of pressure to bear," he told reporters. "The parallels with what we did in the apartheid era are rather persuasive." Full story

Edinburgh Uni criticised for Burma link

The Scotsman
Tuesday 23 October 2007

STUDENTS have accused Edinburgh University of turning its back on ethical investment by supporting a French oil company with extensive links to the military dictatorship in Burma.

The Scotsman has learned that the university owns 16,640 shares, worth £647,219 in French oil company Total, which Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has described as: "the main supporter of the Burmese military regime." Full story

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oxford demo planned for Sat 27th

Oxford Burma Solidarity will be having a demo/picket of the Total garage on Saturday 27th October to reduce their sales and promote the boycott.

That’s 2pm-4pm, 44-48 Garsington Rd (go up Cowley Road as far as Oxford Business Park, near the ring road. Take the no5 bus if you want). The Total garage is here.

Bring large readable banners and placards!

From Oxford Free Burma Society.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Councillor leads protest in Lewsiham

20 protestors, led by local Green Party councillor Sue Luxton, converged on the Total petrol station near Catford on Saturday morning. They were raising awareness of Lewisham Council's investment in Total Oil and calling for Total Oil to pull out of Burma.

Councillor Luxton recently discovered that Lewsiham Council has nearly £4m invested in Total Oil, and £12m overall in companies that do business with the Burmese military junta. Cllr Luxton called for the protest in order to draw attention to her findings and to encourage Lewisham Council to invest ethically.

In a press release Cllr Luxton said, “Anyone who has seen or read about the brutal oppression that has taken place in Burma will be horrified to hear that Lewisham Council has so much money invested in companies who do business with the Burmese military junta. It makes a complete mockery of the council’s so-called socially responsible investment policy.”

The protest, at the Total Oil station on Whitefoot Lane, Catford SE6, was covered by local press and received favourable support from passing motorists.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Minding their own business

Why the French are so keen to stay in Burma despite unrest
Evening Standard, 19.10.07

A Burma Campaign UK spokesman says: "When the world saw the violence against the monks and the people of Burma, it should realise this: Total helped pay for those guns and bullets."

Total's argument is simple. Spokesman Jean-François Lassalle says: "Why are we in difficult countries like Burma, Western Sahara, Sudan? Because it is our objective to find oil or gas. Oil and gas are not only found in countries with democratic regimes run on the European model.

"Who is to decide whether these regimes are unsavoury or acceptable? We are not a political entity, we are not the UN, or a government. We are a company. It is not for us to qualify which regime is acceptable, nor is it for the NGOs either. It is for the UN, the EU or France. If they force us, we immediately comply."

The Burma Campaign claims Total's influence over the French government has prevented any meaningful sanctions against the Junta from the EU - a charge Total denies. Full article

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"24 hour" Total station shuts due to protest

During the Thursday evening rush hour, the 24-hour Total petrol station on Marylebone Road in London shut down due to the presence of protestors calling for Total to pull out of Burma.

Fifteen protestors began their peaceful protest at 5.00pm with banners and leaflets. Several campaigners talked to motorists who drove in to buy petrol. Many motorists were supportive and vowed not to buy Total again. However Total complained to the police (after about an hour and a half) and the campaigners were asked to leave the forecourt. Shortly afterwards the station was shut down completely. Employees moved cones and bins to block vehicular access to the station and the lights were switched off, including the 24-hour sign! The station remained closed until the protest finished.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Body bag turns up at Total Oil HQ

On Wednesday morning a dozen campaigners converged on Total Oil's headquarters in London for the third consecutive week. At the entrance to the building, workers and commuters were confronted with a "dead" body in a body bag, along with banners, placards and leaflets.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Burma activists 'lock on' to Total

Three direct activists have today shut down a busy Total filling station in solidarity with the people of Burma's nonviolent struggle for democracy.

Under a banner saying “May all beings be happy – Free Burma ” the activists have locked themselves together and begun to meditate, locking together the hoses, turning off the power and blocking the entrance to the premises. Report and pics

Lewisham Council has Burmese blood on its hands

Sue Luxton, a Green Party councillor, has uncovered nearly £12m invested by Lewisham Council in companies named on the Burma Campaign's 'dirty list', including Total Oil. It includes £11,697,000 in the pension fund plus £171,000 in procurement activity last year.

At 11am on Saturday 20th October she is holding a press call with members of the Burma UK Campaign outside the TOTAL Petrol Station on Whitefoot Lane, Catford, SE6 1TP.

Investments Lewisham Council's Pension Fund holds of those companies named on the Burma Campaign list as at 30th September 2007:

- Chevron, £2,448,000
- China Petroleum, £830,000
- Mitsui OSK, £2,708,000
- PTT, £493,000
- Sumitomo Mitsui, £1,348,000
- Total Oil, £3,870,000
TOTAL: £11,697,000

Procurement activity the Council has undertaken with companies named on the Burma Campaign list in 2006/07 (£'000s):

- Maersk, £12,000
- Siemens, £122,000
- SGS, £5,000
- Total, £32,000
TOTAL: £171,000

GRAND TOTAL = £11,868,000

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cardiff Total blockade 13th oct

Approx 20 people turned up and successively blocked entrances to garage. this lasted for 2 hours many drivers supported our actions and were happy to turn back. Report and pics

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Third London die-in this week

Total offices in central London were again targeted this morning. The protest was the third in the last week, and the start of a weekly picket seeking to put pressure on Total to immediately divest from Burma. Demonstrators chalked around the bodies of those dying-in and wrote 'Total out of Burma Now' and 'Funders of the brutual regime this way' on the pavement. Report and pics

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cardiff Total closed

Around 30 people marched from the centre of Cardiff to the Total garage, at the weekend, where more protesters had already gathered. They blocked the entrance and exit routes to the garage, shutting it down. The garage remained closed by the action for three hours. There were no arrests.

The level of public support for the action was amazing, and car horns were beeping their support almost constantly. Even the motorists that turned up to use the garage were (on the whole) supportive, and happily drove off to find somewhere else to fill up. Report and pictures

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Freedom for Burma Oxford: meeting Saturday

Kevin Nolan writes:

There's been plenty of warm vibes about having a meeting to set up a group and decide on new demonstrations [in Oxford]. So here it is!

When: Saturday 13th, 12 noon
Where: The OARC - Upstairs in the East Oxford Community Centre:
Princes St, Oxford, OX4 1HU Map

If people are up for it, the first demonstration could take place immediately afterwards: Outside Total again or in the city center. Or we can leave it until another time. That's for the meeting to decide :)

Please tell anyone else you think may be interested - the more popular the group becomes, the more benefit we can be to the freedom struggle in Burma.

Demonstration in St Albans

Total Fuels Burma.... Noon Saturday 6th October outside Total Petrol Station, St Albans, Herts. Cllr Roma Mills and Ex-MP Kerry Pollard. We handed out leaflets to motorists (most suddenly decided that Sainsburys might have less blood on thier hands!) and signed petitions. Report

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Total Totally Blockaded in Oxford

Protesters peacefully blockaded a Total petrol station in Oxford today, in support of the democracy movement in Burma. They were there for two hours and seriously disrupted Total's business for the day. Full story

London Total Oil's offices targeted again this morning

Total Oil's London HQ was targeted again this morning as workers made their way into the building in order to highlight the company's involvement in financially supporting the Burmese military junta.

Full report and more pics

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Total Oil's London offices targeted this morning

The London offices of Europe’s greatest financial backer of the Burmese junta, Total Oil, were targeted early this morning by activists protesting the company’s role in propping up the repressive military regime in Burma.

Activists decided to take this matter to Total’s London offices, showing up early this morning to talk to office workers as they made their way into work, and to inform others working in the building what their neighbours are really up to. A banner reading ‘TOTALitarianOil Out of Burma Now’ was unfurled, leaflets from the Burma Campaign handed out, while three activists staged a die-in in the lobby of the building.

Full Indymedia report and pictures

Anti-Total protest in Oxford

Activists staged a protest at Total petrol station on Oxford Road in Oxford on Saturday. The large banner sent out a clear message about Total Oil’s support of the Burmese junta to lots of motorists on the busy Saturday afternoon. Many indicated to turn in before changing their minds. Those who chose to refill their tanks were handed leaflets and given a lecture on the situation in Burma and Total’s decision to exploit it. Indymedia report

Monday, October 1, 2007

Nottinghamshire call-out

From Indymedia UK:

TOTAL Oil is the fourth largest oil company in the world and one of the biggest foreign investors in Burma. Its joint venture with Burma’s dictatorship earns the military regime hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Widespread systematic human rights abuses have been associated with the TOTAL pipeline, including forced labour, torture and rape. In addition, tougher European Union sanctions against Burma have been blocked by the French government in its effort to protect TOTAL’s interests in the country.

Just so you know where to avoid the local Total filling stations
Read more

French union calls for Total transfer freeze

The Independent, 29 September 2007:

The left-wing French trades union federation, the Confédération Génerale du Traval (CGT) has called on Total to "halt all extraction of gas and freeze all transfers" to the Burmese regime "so long as human rights are being abused".
Full article