Activist says sponsorship allows oil group to appear a ‘good corporate citizen’
'Hundreds of people have occupied the British Museum in protest against its relationship with longstanding sponsor BP and to highlight that the multinational lobbied the UK government to help it gain access to Iraq’s oil reserves prior to the war in the country.
I am Ashurbanipal, the museum’s current main exhibition, features artefacts that protesters said had been removed from modern day Iraq during the Ottoman era, while BP’s impact on climate change was also a central cause for concern.
“We are the people rising, when oil burns and armies grow” chanted protesters as they unveiled banners saying “Crisis colonialism” and “Stolen objects”, with the museum allowing the day of peaceful action.
“There are memos from meetings just before the war where the Foreign Office was very clear that BP wanted access to Iraq’s oil, and indeed once the war was over BP was the first foreign company into Iraq,” said Helen Glynn, a spokesperson for BP Or Not BP, who helped organise the protest.
“Today, Iraq is still reeling from the impact of that war and oil extraction. They were promised it would bring them wealth and instead there’s huge pollution, poverty and corruption.”
She added that the company’s sponsorship of British Museum events allowed BP, formerly called the Anglo-Persian oil company, to appear as a “good corporate citizen when in fact it is one of the most destructive companies in the world”.'
Read more: Campaigners protest against BP sponsorship of British Museum