Several drivers changed their minds and went elsewhere for their petrol when they saw us or spoke to us about what is going on in Rossport at Shell's behest. We handed out leaflets at the zebra crossing, where bored and exasperated drivers were trapped in their little metal boxes carping, honking and scratching at each other like battery chickens. It gave them something to read in the extensive traffic jam that sat next to the garage.
Several Irish passers-by showed particular interest.
The forecourt was almost completely empty most of the time we were there, so we effectively shut it down without any police action or other such quotidian aggro.
Photos were taken and will appear shortly if fortune and our silicon masters smile upon us.
Our press release is below.
We are at the Shell petrol station on Muller Road in Bristol today (Sep 14th) occupying the forecourt in protest against Shell’s treatment of the people of Rossport, in County Mayo, Ireland.
From 6pm we will be there, in solidarity with the community of Rossport, who have been imprisoned, beaten and intimidated by the Irish police at Shell’s request.
We are activists from Bristol Rising Tide, a group who campaigns about climate change and human rights.
Shell want to build a dangerous and environmentally destructive gas pipeline and refinery right next to people’s houses on unstable marsh land. There is massive opposition in the local community and there has been support for their struggle across Ireland and internationally, with many Shell garages being targeted for demos.
In 2005, 5 men were jailed for 3 months for refusing to allow Shell access to their land. Following their imprisonment the community set up a picket at the proposed refinery site, stopping work for over a year. Last autumn, large numbers of police moved into the area and beat the community off the streets. Numerous people were hospitalized and the police brutality has been internationally condemned. More recently state repression has involved the initiation of malicious prosecutions against prominent local campaigners. Despite the strong forces working against them, the community continues to resist. We are here in support of their struggle.
Contact: Bristol Rising Tide 07988 460373 or 07983 350021
Notes for journalists
Major Criticisms of the Project
Unprocessed gas will be piped at uniquely high pressure levels, dangerously close to dwellings and through several SACs' (special areas of conservation), supposedly under the protection of EU law.
The gas will be processed at a refinery within the catchment area of the local reservoir, Carrowmore lake, which provides the drinking water for 10,000 people.
An Taisce (The Irish National Trust) has stated that if the project goes ahead, Carrowmore Lake will eventually have to be closed as a source of drinking water.
The refinery will be a huge source of air and water pollution. Between 200,000 and 300,000 kg of methane (a major greenhouse gas) will be emitted annually, with the risk of vapor cloud explosions and acid rain.
The site will hold over 5000 tonnes of dangerous chemicals. Over 1500 tonnes of methanol (a highy toxic chemical) are expected to be ‘lost’ each year. This will be emitted, with the waste water, into
Broadhaven bay, "an important area for a number of marine mammal species and for other marine life" according to a report commissioned by Shell. The waste water would also contain heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and cadmium. Any waste not pumped into the bay will drain instead into Carrowmore Lake.
The project will adversely impact on the livelihoods of the region’s farmers and fishermen due to the massive land, air and water pollution.
All the profits from the gas extraction will go directly to the oil companies, the Irish people will gain nothing.
Further information is available from: