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Protesters Demand Hands Off Iraqi Oil!

IMC Birmingham | 29.02.2008 19:01 | Birmingham

As part of the international day of action called by Hands Off Iraqi Oil on Saturday 23rd February, a group of protesters and local people closed down a Shell forecourt for two hours in Birmingham whilst in Coventry there was a series of 5 banner drops. Both actions sent a defiant message of solidarity to Iraqi oil workers resisting attempts to steal billions of dollars in oil revenue from their devastated country.

Since 2003, the UK and US governments, the IMF, and various oil corporations including Shell and BP are trying to force through a proposed oil law which will allow oil corporations unhindered access to their oil wealth, bypassing the Iraqi economy entirely.

Elsewhere the callout for action resulted in actions in, London, Liverpool, Wrexham, Coventry, Bristol, Southend, Amsterdam and Washington [video]

Action report's from the West Midlands [1, 2] | Pics [1, 2, 3] | Audio from the London tour of the Corporate Oil Profiteers

Hands Off Iraqi Oil | Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions | Stop the Iraqi Oil Law | The Stirrer coverage | 2007 IMC article |

A bit of corporate rebranding is due..
A bit of corporate rebranding is due..

One year on, despite five US administration- and IMF- imposed deadlines, the law is still being contested at every level of Iraqi society. However, a 18th February deadline for international oil companies to register to compete for tenders to help develop Iraq's oil represents a first official foot in the door.

The Iraqi Oil Workers Union has been on the front line of resisting this oil law. They have rallied in the streets, created physical blockades to prevent foreign oil companies from trespassing onto their fields, and they have continued to organise despite threats on their jobs, their lives, and the lives of their family. Oil experts, lawyers, academics, trade unionists, and students are rejecting the occupation-imposed oil law and the economic occupation it serves. International solidarity is desperately needed to support their struggle. Iraq has the last remaining easy-to-access oil resources on the planet, it is not due to reach peak production until 2022 [full screen map].

In Coventry protesters dropped a series of banners on bridges over the city's arterial roads. This was done in solidarity with other protests occurring in the UK and to highlight the plight of the Iraqi people and the negative consequences of the current proposed oil law in Iraq. The Banners read, 'stop BP stealing Iraq's oil' and 'welfare not warfare'.

In Kings Heath, South Birmingham, a Shell petrol station forecourt was shut down for two hours. The entrance and exits were blockaded with banners which read: 'Stop shafting Iraqi workers for the spOILs of war' and 'Shell is closed for ethical repairs'. Oil drums stenciled with Iraqi Oil also blocked the entrances. A banner was also dropped from the forecourt roof which read: 'Hands Off Iraqi Oil - Stop the Oil Theft Law' and the 'S' on the Shell logo was obscured so it read 'hell'. Local people including children spontaneously joined the action by holding banners and distributing hundreds of leaflets. There was a positive reaction from passers-by and motorists including a bus driver who distributed leaflets to his passengers. The protest included a theme of corporate re-branding as suited “market researchers” stopped people with a questionnaire about attitudes to the profiteering of oil companies. After shutting the forecourt for two hours, protesters and local people left on their own terms. There were no arrests.

IMC Birmingham