On Saturday 23rd April, BP or not BP? staged their first large scale protest at the British Museum since the lockdowns.
Smuggling a huge array of constituent parts past tight security, they erected a 10 metre wide ‘Drop BP’ logo in the Great Hall, before symbolically dismantling it and transforming it into beautiful regenerative art.
An estimated 300 people took part in the protest, which began at lunchtime with pop up autonomous protests all around the museum, including a banner drop by young activists, and readings of statements in solidarity with Egyptian and West Papuan activists who are struggling with BP exploitation in their own lands.
The protest was timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of BP or not BP?’s first protest – a stage invasion at the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre in Stratford, which at the time was sponsored by BP.
The RSC along with many other arts institutions, notably the National Portrait gallery, Scottish Ballet, the Tate, and the Edinburgh International Festival, have all severed ties with BP. But the British Museum is actually considering renewing its relationship with BP this year – another reason for the large scale protest.
As the museum closed to the public, groups occupying four galleries continued to transform bits of their logo into new art, and after warnings from security, the police were called. However, after two more hours the protesters decided to leave, with no arrests.
During the last decade BP spent around £40 million per year in lobbying and advertising specifically aimed at obstructing climate policies.