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World Oil Protests.

In June, more than 1,000 people peacefully protested in the streets of Calgary, Canada as the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) met behind a six-foot fence inside a $71 million conference center built especially for the oil industry gathering.

According to Project Underground [], the heavy police presence "demonstrated the Lengths to which the oil industry and its supporters will go to silence a debate about energy options. The conclusion of many was that the police were there to protect corporations, not citizens."

On June 7, Project Underground campaigner Carwil James and Amit Srivastava of the Transnational Resource and Action Center [] were detained, interrogated, and ultimately deported by Canadian immigration officials.

"Such repressive government behavior is proving our point," said Srivastava. "Institutions such as the WTO, the World Bank, and the global oil industry are antithetical to democracy."

The authorities claimed they acted to keep "outside agitators" from attending the weeklong protests. Yet white activists with multiple civil disobedience charges were apparently let into Canada without any problem. Srivastava is Indian-American and James is African-American.

"The troublemakers in Calgary are the oil executives" said one former Edmonton city official. "The trouble they're causing around the world is documented." Oil companies' rote in human rights violations, environmental degradation, and climate change are well-documented.

WPC organizer Jim Gray tried to assuage critics by saying that 25-30 percent of the papers presented at the event would address social and ecological issues.

Despite the military-style police presence and constant surveillance, demonstrators were able to challenge the WPC delegates to adopt cleaner power sources -- using a public address system powered by solar array and wind turbines.
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Publication:Earth Island Journal
Geographic Code:0JINT
Date:Dec 22, 2000
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