Esso station shut down, Edinburgh

15.07.2005

G8 activists have shut down Esso’s Musselburgh services near Old Craighall in Edinburgh by pouring vegetable oil over the forecourt in protest against the G8’s complicity in catastrophic global climate change, and in a refusal to let their dissent against the G8 be silenced.

The action took place on Saturday July 9 at 7am and was timed to cause maximum disruption to drivers’ morning rush for their deadly, daily fix of oil.

The three activists, wearing masks, ran onto the forecourt and upended four large barrels of the oil over the entrances to the station. Leaving the barrels, to indicate the symbolism of the substance spilt, they ran off. Previous actions like this have seen service stations closed for up to five hours as the slippery, symbolic mess is cleaned up.

It was also timed to indicate disgust with the G8’s feeble talks on climate change the previous day, where the so-called leaders made empty gestures and spoke feeble platitudes, nodding ritualistically in the direction of the climate change crisis, but comprehensively failing to actually address this huge and growing emergency.

The other focus of the action was to show the “authorities� that their heavy-handed policing tactics could never shut down protest and direct action against the G8 and its worldwide control project. The heavy police cordon around the activist camp at Stirling and the abuse of spurious anti-terrorism powers had been intended to demoralise the anti-G8 protesters, but the Musselburgh activists said their action symbolised all protesters’ refusal to be intimidated or silenced.

The vegetable oil was intended to show that there are alternatives to society’s lethal addiction to fossil fuels. The technology exists and the alternative energy sources work, but vested interests refuse to relinquish the colossal and corrupt power they accrue from the world’s oil dependency.

Oil is the source of wars and terror as well as climate change. Esso and those like them, these planetary poisoners, these profiteers from misery, pollution and exploitation, must know that there is a growing groundswell of protesters who will refuse to stand by and watch the fume-clouds thicken, the tides rise and the pool of blood deepen as more and more of it is spilt for the most destructive and dangerous product in history: oil.

One of the activists said: “The tiger’s no longer in your tank, the snow it once bounded through has melted due to global warming. Thirty years ago the catchy advert jungle said: ‘the esso sign means happy motoring’ but that story’s worn a bit thin these days. We donated some 16 gallons of vegetable oil to the forecourt to try to encourage Esso and its customers to look for an alternative to their petro-chemical dependency. We hope drivers could see through the inconvenience.�

The activists ran off, leaving blocked entrances, a stunned (and maybe a little exhilarated) attendant, and a planet just that bit safer, for a morning or so at least.

Esso and all like you: your days are numbered