This time last year, few people in the UK had even heard of the Alberta Tar Sands

15th April 2010  ‘Activists Target BP’s Investment in Tar Sands with Roof Occupation’

Climate Campaigners have occupied the Roof of a BP garage today in protest  about the company’s involvement in tar sands, the increasingly
controversial oil extraction industry.  The activists have erected pop-up tents and are unwilling to leave.  Unveiling a banner reading “Tar Sands: Climate Scandal” spokesperson Robin  Monaghan said “BP’s planned investment in tar sands is utterly  unacceptable. We want everyone to know that BP have abandoned their slogan  ‘Beyond Petroleum’ by funding this project which will cause irreversible  climate change”.

BP is holding its AGM today, and will receive a shareholders resolution  calling for the company to rethink their involvement with the Sunrise
Project, a method of oil production that is the most energy and carbon  intensive of any used in the oil industry. The resolution, put forward by

group Fairpensions, in association with Unison, The Co-operative and other  shareholders raises concerns over the project’s high carbon dioxide output, environmental degradation and the disruption to the livelihoods of  indigenous Canadians. Tar sand oil extraction produces up to 5 times more greenhouse gas  emissions as conventional oil production, and has already deforested an area of Canadian Boreal Forest the size of England. Huge toxic tailing  ponds have leaked poisons into the local water supply, and communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing  disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer.

For more Photos go to Call Marina Pepper who is currently occupying the roof of the garage on 07732505632
To follow Marina Pepper’s live twitter update from the roof go to

Dateline: Party at the Pumps, Shepherd’s Bush Green BP Petrol Station, London, UK, 13:00-17:00, Sat 10 Apr 10 – Hundreds of people descended upon the BP petrol station on the south side of Shepherd’s Bush Common for a four hour long ‘Party at the Pumps’. Dancing to live music from the Rhythms of Resistance samba band and the Green Kite Midnight ceilidh band, plus MP3s piped through the Dissident Island mobile sound system, accompanied by Bicycology, we rocked the forecourt, left peacefully and there were no arrests. But why?

A1. “All your base are belong to us!”

A2. Target BP Petrol Station Map

B1. A Sole Placard

B2. Some Will Cycle to Our Target

B3. With Beaver Lake Cree Sisters & Brothers, Solidarity We Demonstrate

B4. A Game of Follow-The-Flag is In-The-Offing

C1. Upon Arrival – NOT Business As Usual

C2. As Below, So Above

C3. Bowing The Whistle on BP’s Dirty Little Party

C4. Sneaky LoudspeakerBot is Sneaky

C5. Rhythms of Resistance – Rocking the Forecourt

C6. Petrol Station Gets All Partyed-Up

C7. Kevin Smith confronts “New” Labour candidate Andy Slaughter

This was the London direct action component of an International Day of Action on the Canadian Tar Sands – the single most dirty, toxic and dangerous climate crime atrocity on Earth; and the centrepiece of the ‘BP Fortnight of Shame’, culminating in a vote at the BP shareholder’s AGM in London on Thursday 15 April 2010 to keep BP out of the planet-trashing Canadian Tar Sands (protest details below).

‘BP hit by nationwide protests over plans to Enter the Tar Sands’, by youandifilms
» video, 5:14 –

‘Party at the pumps :P’, by vitkiktiv
» video, 5:00 –

‘BP hit by tar sands protests in London, Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge’, by UK Tar Sands Network, at IMC UK
» pix-led report –

‘BP party at the pumps’, by AlexMilanTracy, at Demotix
» pix-led report –

‘Tar Sands Protest Closes BP Garage in London’, by Peter Marshall, at IMC UK
» pix-led report –

‘BP Tar Sands protest, Oxford’, by SAS, at Demotix
» pix-led report –

•  ‘No Tar Sands’ photostream, at Flickr
» photos –

We began gathering on all four corners of the recently remodelled Oxford Circus crossroads junction at 13:00, and the word was passed around: on the whistle blast we descend into the tube station, and follow the folks with the yellow/green pennants on bamboo poles. When the time came, a few coppers followed along to the westbound Central Line tube platform, but had no more clue than the great majority of party goers as to when to disembark. But by this time, whistles had been distributed, and the cue to get off made known – another whistle blast, echoing along the length of the train, signalled our disembarkation at Shepherd’s Bush station.

Through careful spacetime co-ordination with an advance party, the BP petrol station on the south side of Shepherd’s Bush Green was easily taken, without any interference from the rozzers. By the time I’d pushed my still-folded Brompton bike there, the party was in full swing:
• the Rhythms of Resistance samba band were rocking the neighbourhood, to the delights of the dancing masses
• the roof over the petrol pumps was occupied, and a large long banner affixed thereto, reading ‘BP + TAR SANDS = CLIMATE CRIME’
• six people were holding a huge ‘CLOSED’ sign across the vehicular entrance
• diverse other banners were being deployed

“If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming.”
~ Emma Goldman (1869-1940), writer, feminist, anarchist, and atheist

Well, Emma, there IS dancing in our revolution, and plenty for all to go round. Indeed dancing around and in between the petrol pumps was a highlight of the ‘Party at the Pumps’, thanks to the fan-blinkin-tastic Green Kite Midnight ceilidh band, with a little help from the two Tims – one of us brought along a 70W, three-microphone, sound system, while the other did an outstanding human-mic-stand job. Scores of party people danced delightfully to the hoe-down instructions of the excellent and well-amplified caller, and joyful exuberance pervaded our party of protest.

“Tar sands projects are dodgy no matter how you slice it – they’re environmentally, socially and economically unsustainable. I think the grilling that BP and Shell are getting over their involvement in the tar sands is well-deserved, and I hope investors keep up the pressure with a strong vote in favour of the resolutions at the AGMs this spring.”
~ Alistair McGowan, actor and comedian

Why would a couple of hundred people want to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon at a party on an illegally occupied petrol station? For most, the motivation arose from tackling the anthropogenic catastrophic climate chaos crisis head on: by taking direct action on the streets. This event was the centrepiece of an internationally co-ordinated ‘BP Fortnight of Shame’, aimed at sending the clearest possible message to the BP shareholders AGM on Thu 15 Apr 10: “Don’t you DARE get into the Canadian Tar Sands, or we’ll make you live to regret it!”

The ‘BP Fortnight of Shame’ was organised in international solidarity with our indigenous First Nations sisters and brothers, who are being poisoned and killed (as is their ecosystem) by the single greatest industrial climate crime on Earth: the Canadian Tar Sands atrocity. The UK Tar Sands Network, Camp for Climate Action, Rising Tide UK, plus a host of other groups and hundreds of individuals co-created a wide range of direct actions, in solidarity with the Tar Sands campaign of the Indigenous Environmental Network of North America.

“We really wanted to get the message out there and we handed out thousands of leaflets. I think people were supportive and, surprisingly, we didn’t get one driver who was annoyed about the station being closed. A lot tooted their horns in support.
It is vital something is done about this. We will never meet emissions targets if this project goes ahead – CO2 will go up 25% in Canada alone, there will be an increase in cancer and widespread water pollution there.
To give an idea of its scale, it’s the only petro-chemical project you can see from space.”

~ Tony Cottee, Rising Tide activist

The British transnational oil corporation BP – originally ‘British Petroleum’, then briefly ‘Beyond Petroleum’, now aiming to go ‘Back to Pollution’, or alternatively ‘B*stard Planet-f*ckers’, depending on your personal righteous anger – is intending to cut itself a part of the Tars Sands action. The UK FairPensions campaign for ethical investment has won widespread support for its ‘TAR SANDS – COUNTING THE COST’ initiative against British transnational oil corporations Shell and BP, including tabling anti-Tar-Sands motions at their spring AGMs. So if you want to help drive a nail into the coffin of BP’s Tar Sands ambitions, you are welcome to join us at the culminating protest of the ‘BP Fortnight of Shame’: BP + TAR SANDS = CLIMATE CRIME Protest, Thursday 15 April 2010, 10:00-13:30, Excel Conference Centre.

We know we’re not alone – the Columbia Solidarity Campaign will be outside demanding that “BP MUST RECOGNISE ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO CASANARE WORKERS, COMMUNITIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT”. And there will be indigenous First Nations folks INSIDE the BP AGM arguing against BP joining in the Tar Sands climate crime atrocity. Some people going in to the BP AGM will be already mandated to vote against BP’s Tar Sands commitment and deserve our vocal support; and others need to know that there’s an active campaign AGAINST BP soiling themselves with Tar Sands shit. So let’s show up mob-handed, and acquit ourselves with the honour of knowing we did all we could, in solidarity with our First Nations sisters and brothers, to halt BP’s slide Back to Black and stymie their climate criminal Tar Sands plans.

Up the Revolution, Tim Dalinian Jones

This means you are free to copy and distribute any of my photos and videos you find here, under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License Accreditation: Contact email:

This time last year, few people in the UK had even heard of the Alberta Tar Sands. Now they are moving rapidly up the public agenda, thanks largely to a growing grassroots campaign of resistance and international solidarity. The latest example of this has been the national “Fortnight of Shame” (April 1st- 15th 2010) to oppose BP’s planned involvement in the tar sands, which came to a head on Saturday 10th with protests in London, Oxford, Brighton and Cambridge, including a Party at the Pumps in Sheperds Bush. All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2010, all rights reserved.

Indymedia articles: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 ]

For further information: [ UK Tar Sands Network | UKTSN Blog | Rising Tide UK | Camp for Climate Action | Indigenous Environmental Network ]

A Brighton petrol station gets a makeover
A Brighton petrol station gets a makeover

Tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada is already the world’s largest industrial project, requiring the removal of vast areas of ancient forest and consuming enough natural gas per day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Extracting usable fuel from the oily soil emits 3 to 5 times as much carbon dioxide as conventional oil drilling, the lakes of toxic waste it produces are so large they are visible from space, and the pollution from the project is poisoning the Indigenous people who live in its shadow. There is enough oil in the Alberta tar sands to push us over the climate tipping point even if we keep all other fossil fuels in the ground. Grassroots resistance has been taking place on the ground in Canada for years, led largely by Indigenous communities, but has attracted limited international attention – until now.

British companies including Shell and the Royal Bank of Scotland (see the “Cashing In On Tar Sands” report from Platform for more details) are heavily involved in exploiting the Canadian Tar Sands. BP was the only major oil company not to be in the tar sands, until in 2007 it purchased a stake in the ‘Sunrise Project’, an extraction project that could produce 200,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day. Then in 2008 the price of oil collapsed and Sunrise was put on hold – but signs are that BP is now planning to get it started again. Then, earlier this year, the company announced its potential involvement in two other, similar developments, although a final decision as to whether or not to go ahead with them has also yet to be made. While a longer, sustained campaign will be needed to get more entrenched companies such as Shell out of the tar sands, the fact that BP is not yet fully committed means that there’s a real chance to prevent it from entering the tar sands at all – which could have a significant knock-on effect throughout the whole industry. As a result, an unprecedented coalition of UK climate activists, NGOs and Indigenous Canadian activists has come together to stop BP’s plans.

This new wave of UK action was kickstarted by the visit of five Indigenous Canadian activists to last August’s Camp for Climate Action, who then led a noisy protest to the Canadian Embassy, the BP-sponsored National Portrait Gallery and BP’s London HQ. On the same day, climate activists “corrected” the sign outside Shell’s London offices]] to read “Hell Centre”, and occupied RBS’s headquarters; each of these two actions included a strong anti-tar sands message.

The relationships forged at the Camp led to the founding of the UK Tar Sands Network – a project working in direct solidarity and partnership with First Nations activists in Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network. This network has helped to foster a growing number of direct actions against BP and other tar sands collaborators.

In October 2009, activists from Thames Valley Climate Action invaded both BP’s and Shell’s recruitment events in Oxford’s elite Randolph Hotel , taking over the podiums to deliver anti-tar sands messages. Three Indigenous activists spoke at meetings around the UK in November, culminating in a rally at RBS’s London headquarters and a die-in organised by People & Planet. In the same month, Rising Tide Plymouth locked themselves on to a branch of Barclays Bank in protest at the company’s investments in tar sands (as well as coal and the arms trade), and student campaigners from People & Planet held protests across Scotland, targeting RBS. The art-activist project “C-Words”, organised by Platform and others at Bristol’s Arnolfini Centre, included a strong anti-tar sands element. In December, the Trafalgar Square Climate Camp held a tar sands protest at Canada House; the following day, three activists from Thames Valley Climate Action occupied the roof of the Canadian High Commission in London and dipped the Canadian national flag in oil. Meanwhile, many UK activists were involved in a large international anti-tar-sands solidarity protest in Copenhagen.

In February 2010, the UK Tar Sands Network and London Rising Tide held an alternative “Oil-ympics” in Trafalgar Square, to coincide with the opening of the Winter Olympics in Canada, which are sponsored by many companies involved in tar sands extraction. In March, Leeds campaigners held a public “tar sands wedding” between BP and Canada, Oxford activists invaded another Shell recruitment event, and a Canadian government delegation was given a suitable welcome in London.

Also in February, anarchists attacked the RBS offices in Bristol with rocks and paint-bombs, citing the Canadian tar sands as a key reason for their action. This was an autonomous action not associated with the UK Tar Sands Network or IEN.

April 1st was both Fossil Fools Day and the beginning of the BP Fortnight of Shame, supported by the UK Tar Sands network, Rising Tide UK, the Camp for Climate Action and the Indigenous Environmental Network. The Fortnight saw a variety of actions around the country:

Then on April 10th, hundreds of climate activists in London, Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge held simultaneous demonstrations, street parties and blockades. Around 150 people invaded BP’s Shepherd’s Bush petrol station for a ‘Party at the Pumps’. They hung banners off the roof, climbed on the pumps and held a ceilidh in the forecourt. The station remained closed for the rest of the afternoon – video here.

About 25 people from the Thames Valley Climate Action group reconstructed the Canadian tar sands on Oxford’s central shopping parade, including a pipeline and “toxic” tailings pond complete with toy ducks. Around 5,000 anti-BP leaflets were distributed, and video messages were collected from the public to send to BP’s AGM. Meanwhile, a “Rainbow Coalition” of Brighton activists successfully invaded and shut down two separate BP petrol stations.

Local activists from the Cambridge Tar Sands Network led an unconventional tour group through the city today. They took in the sights of RBS Branches, a Superdrug Location, and University Facilities funded by BP, all of which have links to the Canadian Tar Sands.

All eyes are now on the upcoming Annual General Meetings of BP (April 15th), RBS (April 28th) and Shell (May 18th). All three meetings will be attended by representatives from Canadian First Nations communities affected by the tar sands as well as other activists, and both the BP and Shell AGMs include shareholder motions challenging the companies’ projects in Alberta. However, none of the companies are likely to make any significant decisions about tar sands at these meetings – to shut down their destructive tar sands projects for good, there’ll need to be even more action throughout 2010. For starters, the 24th April – 1st May has been designated as a Week of Action against RBS.

» Bicycology –
» Dissident Island –
» Climate Camp UK –
» Columbia Solidarity Campaign –
» FairPensions –
» Green Kite Midnight ceilidh band –
» Indigenous Environmental Network –
» Rhythms of Resistance samba band –
» Rising Tide UK –
» Support the Beaver Lake Cree –
• UK Tar Sands Network:
» website –
» blog –


Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “This time last year, few people in the UK had even heard of the Alberta Tar Sands

  1. There is something that can stop the expansion of Alberta’s tar sands developments. The Beaver Lake Cree Nation has launched a legal action based on the Canadian Constitution – and they are suing the federal and provincial governments to prevent further destruction of their traditional hunting, trapping and fishing lands.

    The lawsuit IS a tar sands stopper – because unlike other judicial reviews or legal efforts – a Supreme Court declaration that the 17,000+ permits (that have been issued to mega-oil companies) are unconstitutional will render the paper they are written on meaningless. The permits will be illegal.

    This legal action requires support – both moral and financial. The Co-operative Bank in Manchester, UK has thrown its support behind the Beaver Lake Cree – but the cost of winning a battle like this is high.

    The Beaver Lake Cree have put in everything they have, and we are now working to raise the funds they need to see this through to the end. There’s more information at – so please let others know. There is something concrete under way to stop the tar sands!

  2. Hi there, Saw the post titled ‘This time last year, few people in the UK had even heard of the Alberta Tar Sands’. It’d make a perfect entry for my site and I wondered if I could use it as a guest entry? Would be able to cross link to your site and could spread the word a little. Let me know what you think. Cheers, Katie x

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