Five Gulf Coast residents were denied access to BP's annual shareholder meeting in London on April 14.
A company shareholder had given each a proxy, granting them the legal right to participate in the meeting, but when they attempted to enter the meeting they were pulled aside and told that they would not be allowed inside.
In the week leading up to the meeting the residents gave numerous interviews in the British press, drawing attention to the lingering crisis caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last summer.
Antonia Juhasz, author of the book, Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill, was with the residents, and explains:
We had no illusion that BP was unaware of who we were or why we were there. We wanted them to know. In countless interviews that week, the Gulf Coast residents made their concerns well known to BP and the public: the oysters are not back, the shrimp are not back, their people are sick from oil and dispersant, they have no idea when life will get back to normal, and neither BP nor the federal government's Kenneth Fienberg have paid the necessary cliams on which the Gulf Coast community is supposed to live. In fact, of the hundreds of thousands of claims filed by Gulf residents who have lost income as a result of the disaster, less than 40% have even been processed, much less paid out.
Juhasz was able to enter the meeting, and despite "boos" from some in the audience, read a statement by Keith Jones, whose son Gordon died in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.
Meanwhile, the Gulf coast residents were offered a private meeting, but insisted that any meeting take place in public. BP refused.
We went to London to address BP's shareholders, executives, and board members directly. We awent to speak to the British and global public so that all would know that BP's annual report, statements, and advertisements to the contrary, the oil disaster in the Gulf persists, BP has not yet lived up to its legal, financial, or moral obligations to the Gulf and its residents, and that we will continue to apply pressure on the company until the Gulf and its people are restored. We achieved our mission.
Read BP Handling of Claims Slammed by Gulf Residents
Read her full account of the trip to London on alternet.org, at the link below.