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Environmental activists expose Chevron’s crimes

Published Jun 7, 2010 9:23 PM

Emem Okon
WW photo: Gloria Rubac

Emem Okon traveled halfway around the world from Nigeria to Houston to attend the annual stockholders meeting of Chevron Oil Company on May 27. But she and 13 others were denied entry despite having legal proxy credentials.

Okon wanted to represent the voices and tell the stories of the women in the Niger Delta — women who have called, written letters and protested in Nigeria to no avail. They have organized to demand that Chevron clean up the environment, end gas flaring, and “respect their own human rights policies which call for two-way communication between Chevron and the Niger Delta communities.” (Justice in Nigeria Now press release)

Not only were the delegates banned, but police arrested five of them who did civil disobedience after being refused entry. Among the five arrested was Antonia Juhasz, author of “The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report.” Juhasz was dragged from the meeting as shareholders and their proxies chanted, “Chevron lies, people die.” CEO John Watson abruptly ended the meeting.

Others arrested included Rev. Ken Davis of Community for a Better Environment from Richmond, Calif.; Juan Parras of Houston-based Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services; and Mitchell Anderson and Han Shan of Amazon Watch.

Before his arrest, Rev. Davis stated, “I represent an area where there is no beauty shop, groceries, or cleaners. Our industry is Chevron. My people breathe their contamination every day and are constantly sick. Our health is not for sale.” (JNN press release)

Chevron’s actions in Houston have contradicted its own so-called human rights policy by silencing the voices of people from Nigeria, Australia, Ecuador, Burma, Colombia, Canada and Richmond, Calif. Nigerian Omoyele Sowore explained, “Chevron continues its criminal behavior by denying its shareholders a voice, as it has denied impacted communities a voice about pollution and climate change and they continue their connivance and collusion with military dictators around the world to suppress the voices in the communities where it operates.” (www.TrueCostofChevron.com)