Protesters target British Museum over BP links

3rd April 2016, Comments 0 comments

Activists staged a demonstration inside one of London's biggest museums on Sunday in protest at its sponsorship links with energy giant BP.

A 20-strong group of activists held what they called a "disobedient exhibition" inside the British Museum in central London.

The mock exhibition was entitled "A History of BP in 10 Objects", a play on "A History of the World in 100 Objects", a recent British Museum show.

"It features objects sent from all over the world by communities impacted by BP's environmental destruction and human rights abuses, including crude oil from the Gulf Coast spill," the activists said in a statement.

They claimed BP's support -- largely focused on special exhibitions -- represented 0.8 percent of the central London museum's annual income.

Last September, the self-styled "theatrical campaign group", named "BP Or Not BP?", held a similar protest inside the museum with demonstrators dressed in black to resemble an oil slick, forming the word "No".

The new protest came as 91 figures including actors Emma Thompson and Mark Rylance, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and campaigner Bianca Jagger signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper about the issue.

They urged the museum's new director, Hartwig Fischer, who takes up his post on Monday, not to renew BP's sponsorship deal and instead "seek funding from sources more in line with the museum's values".

The British Museum, which has free admission except for special exhibitions, attracts seven million visitors each year.

A BP spokesman had no comment to make on the protest.

However he told AFP: "BP is proud to partner the British Museum, as we have done for over 20 years. As a major UK company we think it right that we contribute to British society in many ways, including culture.

"Hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy the BP-supported exhibitions at the British Museum."

The British Museum did not respond when contacted by AFP.

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© 2016 AFP

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