Grassroot Groups Formed At A Chevron Gas Station In Protest Of Human Rights Violations By The Oil Giant
Organizers from Global Exchange, Justice in Nigeria Now, and West County Toxics Coalition gathered at a Chevron gas station here in San Francisco on Monday in support for the Nigerian plaintiffs in a human rights trial against the oil company. About 100 anti-Chevron protesters were staged in front of the gas station located at 9th and Howard.
At the federal court building a few blocks away jury selection was beginning for the case, “Bowoto v. Chevron.” The lawsuit results from an incident back in 1998 in which more than a hundred Nigerians occupied a Chevron drilling platform for three days. The protest resulted in Chevron unleashing Nigerian security forces to have them removed which led to three injuries and one death. [social_buttons]
The three protesters who were hurt and the family of the deceased one are all seeking compensation for the incident.
Claims are made by the Nigerian protesters that the demonstration was peaceful. They were protesting environmental damages from oil drilling and also seeking jobs. The lawsuit claims that Chevron and the security forces “maliciously and systematically violated defendants’ human rights for the purpose and with the effect of suppressing plaintiffs’ peaceful protests.”
A Nigerian human rights activist who traveled to San Francisco to support his countrymen in the trial against the oil firm said, “We’re here to keep awareness going against Chevron.”
Chevron claims the protesters took oil workers hostage and threatened them.
“They seized an oil platform, armed themselves, poured diesel fuel over the platform and threatened to light it on fire and kill everyone,” Chevron spokesman Don Campbell said.