Protesters scale BP building in London

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Demonstrators scaled the London headquarters of British oil giant BP on Thursday in protest at the massive oil spill caused by an explosion on a offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

About eight campaigners from environmental group Greenpeace hoisted an oil-soaked flag above the entrance of the building bearing BP's logo and the words "British Polluters" underneath.

"Police were called at about 5:00 am (0400 GMT) to reports of protesters on the roof of a building in St James's Square," a police spokeswoman said, adding there were "about eight" of them and so far no arrests had been made.

A BP spokesman said the climbers came down about 1230 GMT, adding: "If they don't interfere with our work at all, we don't have any particular objection. Our focus at the moment is putting the situation in the Gulf under control."

An estimated 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, of oil have spewed into the Gulf every day over nearly a month since BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank, dragging the company into an environmental nightmare.

The company's board met Wednesday to discuss the impact of the disaster, with chief executive Tony Hayward participating via videolink from the United States.

One of the Greenpeace climbers, Ben Stewart, 36, said: "The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico can be traced back to decisions made in this building.

"Under Tony Hayward's leadership BP has taken huge risks to pump oil from ever more remote places, while slashing investment in the clean energy projects that could actually help reduce our dependence on oil and beat climate change."

© 2010 AFP

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