By Renee Feltz
Security officers at BP’s shareholder meeting [on April 14] in London blocked the entrance of a delegation of four fishermen and women from the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast area heavily damaged by last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Among them was Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation fisherwoman from the Texas Gulf Coast. She was there to present BP executives with the Ethecon Black Planet award for companies who represent a danger to the planet.
Wilson is a past recipient of the the group’s Blue Planet Award and author of Diary of an Eco-Outlaw An Unreasonable Woman Breaks the Law for Mother Earth. She confronted BP’s former CEO Tony Hayward when he testified before Congress last June. She told Democracy Now! what happened when she tried to enter the BP meeting.
RENÉE FELTZ: Can you describe what happened? Did you go up to the BP shareholder meeting with the fishermen? And what was their response when you tried to enter?
DIANE WILSON: Well, all five of us were staying together, and we all had proxies. And a proxy is when someone owns stock, a BP share, but they are not going, so they’ll allow, you know, another person to attend the general meeting and speak out. And it’s a very legitimate way of speaking, and all of us were legally allowed within. And when I walked in—you know, I was separate from the group—the head of security just got right in front of me, and two cops came along, and they said I could not go in. And I said, “I have a proxy,” and I showed it to him. And he said, “I don’t care. You’re not going in.” I said, “For what reason?” And he said, “I don’t have to have a reason. You’re just not going in.”
And I refused to leave. I said I was going to go in. And then they pulled in more police, and was blocking every avenue for me even to get inside. And then there was a large—large group of media that happened to catch the cops blocking the way. And so, they were on one side pushing, and the cops were on the other side pushing. And actually, a couple times I got caught in between and nearly fell down.
And believe it or not, I had the Black Planet Award, which is a very cheap little globe, and it’s been—it’s been painted by the children of Berlin, actually. And I had that with me. When I saw they absolutely were going to do everything they could to block me out, I had a baggy of molasses I had stuck in my bra, believe it or not, and I ripped it out, and I put it on my face, and I put it on my hands. And I said, “This is why they do not want us in here. They want us to go away. They want us to be quiet. They do not want any attention brought on this oil.” And so, I probably stood there for, oh, 20 or 30 minutes, and eventually they arrested me. They hauled me off and arrested me.
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