At the Anglo-French summit held at Arsenal Emirates Football Stadium on Thursday 27th April, protesters asked French President Sarkozy to kick French Total Oil out of Burma. President Sarkozy has previously told Total not to make further investment in Burma, but Total currently funds the brutal military regime with over 500 million dollars a year. In December it upgraded its offshore gas platform whilst asking its corrupt military partners for a maritime exclusion zone around the platform.
The protesters from www.totaloutofburma.org displayed "Totalitarian Oil Out of Burma" banners from the railings of the stadium and also on the famous cannons in front of the Armoury entrance of the stadium. The evil military regime's purchase of weapons for its army in a war against its own people, has been largely dependent on Total's funding as the major source of foreign currency for overseas arms purchases. This week the British Government backed calls for a UN Arms embargo on Burma.
The police wanted us to keep our distance from barriers at the entrance to the underground car park near the Armoury and were concerned we might throw objects or charge into the road. However they were quite reasonable not stopping us from displaying banners on the cannons or stadium and did not block the view of our banners when we held them for the passing diplomatic vehicle escorts.
Whilst we were not allowed to stand on the roundabout in front of the cannons, we were able to stand by the road without barriers, for the exit of the diplomatic vehicles. The French and British really do drive on different sides of the road, as Sarkozy's car and his police escort crossed onto the right side of the road probably to keep their distance from us. Gordon Brown's escort stayed on the left and drove past us properly round the roundabout.
Despite his escort crossing to the right side of the road, we did manage to see President Sarkozy looking at us before he turned away.
In the BBC news article "Brown seeks 'Entente Formidable'" Burma did get a mention in a 36-page joint communique of the summit. It was in the second item the BBC listed from this communique.
"Promoting peace in Darfur and pushing for greater human rights in Burma"
Full Story with more pictures
We also protested at Kilburn Total petrol station on Wednesday 26th April. We were pleased to meet one French passer-by who had a very low opinion of Total and asked for lots of leaflets to send to all his friends.
Next week we can't resist moving our regular Total petrol station protest to 1st April as Rising Tide ( http://www.risingtide.org.uk ) have designated it Fossil Fools Day ( http://www.fossilfoolsday.org ) in protest at fossil fuel caused climate change. So we'll be having our own Totalitarian Fossil Fools Day in support of Fossil Fools Day and against Totalitarian Oil in Burma.
News from Burma Campaign
UK Government Backs UN Arms Embargo on Burma
27 Mar 2008
The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed British government support for a United Nations arms embargo against Burma.
Speaking on Tuesday in the British Parliament during a debate on foreign policy, Foreign Office Minister Meg Munn stated: “We are concerned about the lack of progress (in Burma) and, indeed, in some respects, matters have gone backwards. We would certainly consider pushing for the issue to be discussed further at the UN, and we would support a UN call for an arms embargo.”
Protests in London Next Week
Tuesday 1st April - Totalitarian Fossil Fools Day
5.00pm - 7.00pm
Protest at Total petrol station, Dorset House, 170-172 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5AR.
Nearest tube: Baker Street. Map: http://preview.tinyurl.com/2sz7co
Wednesday 2nd April
Meet at Burma Embassy for normal daily Burmese protest
Myanmar/Burma Embassy 19A, Charles St, London W1J 5DX.
Tube: Green Park | Map: http://preview.tinyurl.com/2vnnbh
Total London HQ, 33 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PW
Tube: Oxford Circus | Map: http://preview.tinyurl.com/2tylug