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shell hell solidarity action today in london (pics and report)

rikki | 30.09.2005 14:38 | Rossport Solidarity | Ecology | London

an environmental protest comprising sand dump and banner drop with megaphone and samba band went without hitch at the shell centre on the south bank at midday today highlighting the shell development in rossport, county mayo in the north west of ireland.

sand drop
sand drop

sand banners
sand banners

main banner
main banner

red banner
red banner

banner reflection
banner reflection

reflection turf
reflection turf

rossport 5
rossport 5

at just after midday today activists arrived outside the shell centre entrance on the south bank in a seven and a half ton lorry and dumped a large mound of sand and turf infront of baffled security guards. the activists topped off their creation with placards bearing the slogans "shell hell - keep out" and "shell - environmental terrorists" before driving off.

meanwhile, climbers quickly mounted lampposts and trees across the road and fixed a huge banner "danger - keep out - shell hell in operation" while other activists handed out leaflets, a megaphone gave out information, a small but very loud samba band started up, and more large banners stating "stop shell hell in nw ireland now" and "free the rossport 5" were put up.

the action caught shell, south bank security and police by surprise, and once underway was allowed to continue without hindrance. it is suspected that this is because shell were anxious to avoid further the publicity likely through attempts to smother the protest.

the action was aimed at highlighting the way shell runs roughshod over local communities. they are responsible for health problems, spills, toxic releases and even the murder of local peoples around their plants in nigeria, south africa, texas, louisiana, the phillipines, curacao, and brazil.

today's action focussed on the remote conservation area of outstanding natural beauty in the north west of ireland at rossport in county mayo, where shell are poised to cause a likely environmental disaster zone with serious public health and safety implications. it comes a day before and in solidarity with the shelltosea irish campaign's day of action in ireland on the 1st october.

after a lengthy and dubious planning process shell are building an unprecedented dangerous raw gas pipeline across farmers' land to a massive onshore refinery, poisoning the area, endangering residents and further adding to climate change.

due to compulsory acquisition orders shell are free to access private land to prepare the new pipeline. the high court has passed injunctions preventing local people from protecting their homes and families, and the struggle has culminated in the jailing of five rossport residents (including a 65 year old ex-teacher) for contempt of court. their incarceration is indefinite until they either "purge their contempt" and allow shell access, or until shell drop the injunctions.

the irish state has sold interest in its gas fields for a song, removing its 50% stake and introducing 100% write-offs against development costs. half the oil will go to the uk. the consortium also includes norwegian company statoil (with norway taking 78% of its profits) and marathon oil (texas).

the pipeline itself will carry raw, odourless gas at five times the usual pressure over unstable bogland with a history of landslides and through villages and small farmland to a massive refinery to be built just two miles from the region's water source, lake carrowmore. the line will also carry electric cables, hydraulic fluids, cleansing acids and waste. all of this because offshore refineries cost more.

the refinery itself will have nine chimneys releasing co2 and methane into the atmosphere. it will be constructed on unstable bog using untried methods to stabilise the bog surface. there are 16 houses within 2km of the plant. construction will displace 160,000 cubic meters of peat bog, and the wastewater storage sump is liable to overflow into lake carrowmore despite eu and un protected status.

toxic waste will pump into broadhaven bay and due to tidal patterns much of it will remain in the bay contaminating important bird, whale, dolphin and fish shell's environmental impact statement (eis), they omitted to mention the site was of importance to wildlife despite its status as a special area of conservation under eu regulations, and their own commissioned study showing the area as an important breeding and rearing area recording over 220 sightings of seven species of whales and dolphins, two seal species, basking sharks, and sea turtle. the area also provides livelihoods to local communities through fishing.

more info available from and

contact mayo and uk solidarity campaign

"no other country in the world has given such favourable terms as ireland..." - mike cunningham, former director at statoil exploration, ireland.



Hide the following 5 comments

press contacts

30.09.2005 16:01

for full press release contact matt salusbury
for further photos (hq) and video footage contact


breaking news - rossport 5 freed today!!!

30.09.2005 16:09

The Rossport five have been released FOR NOW from Cloverhill prison. The courtroom was packed with supporters as the decision became clear.There was a group of up to 100 outside during the duration of the hearing which lasted about an hour.

The men could still face jail however as there will be a hearing regarding theissue of civil versus criminal contempt and the punitive nature or not of each on the 25th of October.More details are to emerge on this issue...

The national demo in ireland is to go ahead as planned tomorrow and the hope is with all the media attention todays announcemnet will attract that the numbers could be very big indeed!

The men vowed to fight on as they were surrounded by ravenous journalists at the gates of the Court(and flanked by politicians,many of whom have been absent on the entire issue).The rain could not dampen the spirits of the men and their supporters though as they defended their actions and pledged to continue in the same vein.

more info on

a battle won today but the war far from over


in solidarity

30.09.2005 17:33

good to take action, solidarity etc, and in rain.

However, a question about the whole thing that I've not managed to get an answer to, from the Irish campaign or elsewhere - why just Shell to Sea?

This doesn't detract from the feelings of solidarity or support I have, but limits what I'll actually do drastically. If the issue is just about stopping the pipeline across people's land, and making Shell just do it out at sea, how about climate chaos, linking issues, solidarity with Nigerians (who don't say do it elsewhere/to someone else..!), pollution blah blah blah? There's no mention of these links anywhere on the campaign website, and people seem to be keeping quiet about these issues in deference to locals. Well the issue ain't local!

Hoping for some answers...


thoughts on 'shell to sea'

30.09.2005 20:24


A few thoughts on the fact that the wider picture stuff, particularly climate chaos, doesn't get much of a look-in on the Rossport etc. websites.

All around the world there are groups resisting rapacious oil companies who have plans to or are polluting the lives and livelihoods of working class, often ethnic minority communities. Rarely do these groups include a concern about climate change or other 'wider' issues in their pronouncements. Issues about land rights livelihoods, local environmental impacts, disease and incipient racism usually come out first. While this may be frustrating to 'bigger picture' campaigners, it's hardly surprising that it should be the case, especially amongst communities who are comparatively new to the issues.

Also, if climate campaigners et al don't work with local communities in their desire for self-determination when it comes to what happens to the oil and gas reserves they're sitting on and which are currently being stolen by multinationals and complicit governments, then they could rightfully be accused of a kind of eco-imperialism. In other words, we might want communities to say 'leave it in the ground', but it's not our decision to make.

I'm with London Rising Tide, a group dedicated to dismantling the oil industry, not just shifting its operations to places where people don't or aren't able to resist. In cases like this, I think we defer, firstly, to the demands of the indigenous campaigners, while also hoping to bring our perspective to the table when we take action. In other words, it's a bit of a dance, but one in which we are never the lead partner. Does that help at all?

PS. Ken Saro-Wiwa and his 8 fellow executed compatriots were also with us today at the Shell Centre in spirit, I hope, along with the Rossport 5. Take a look at if you get the chance...

megaphone Mick

Shell to Sea

03.10.2005 13:03

Shell to Sea:
Shell to sea is an immediate realisable demand which can be acheived as a solution to issues such as health and safety concerns of people who are supposedly to live beside proposed pipeline and refinery and pollution into Broadhaven Bay (very much the demand of people who live right beside it and have spent their lives fishing on it).
The five demands include the scrapping of the neo-liberal deal handing over natural resources to multi-nationals for nothing - again a demand of the local community.
Shell to sea does not mean stick this on someone elses' lap - considerable links have been made with other communities battling dodgy developments, and with other folk who were victims of state repression.

Nigerians and Ogonis (including relatives of the men executed ten years ago) spoke at public meetings in Mayo the over the last two years, there are many signs in the Rossport area referring to Nigeria, Nigerians were on the platform of both the rallies in Cork and Dublin (in the Cork case there were 4 speakers - and one was a Nigerian man), Mayo campaigners joined with others from around the world at the last two Shell agms, the remains of Ogoni Solidarity Ireland have been centrally involved in the campaign for a long time, the FIRST protest in Rossport last Easter (previous to this year campaign mostly dealt with legal stuff and a bit of direct action) was a commemoration of the 10th anniversay of the executions with the names of the victims being carried, the campaign song has a verse in it about the Ogoni struggle and some of the locals call themselves Bogonis.
Mostly this internationalism is about recognising others are fighting the same battle as you are.
Rather than 'deferance to local campaigners' coming into it, the rednecks up in Mayo have maps, newspapers, TV, some of them even have net access, and the Ogoni connection was very much part of their agenda long before this became a national and international campaign.



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