Shareholders barred from entering BP AGM for criticising tar sands


Today at BP’s Annual General Meeting two campaigners were refused entry to the meeting, despite holding legitimate paperwork.

Emily Coats, from the UK Tar Sands Network, was told she was ‘not welcome’, despite being a shareholder, because she had previously protested against BP’s involvement in the tar sands. Eight other campaigners, holding shares or proxies, were able to gain entry to the AGM, after invasive ‘random’ searches, where they put pressure on the board to defend the direction it is taking the troubled company. Two of these campaigners were escorted from the meeting when they tried to exercise a right to respond to BP’s inadequate answers to their questions.

“I own a share in BP so was shocked to be denied entry into the AGM,” commented Coats. “Those that did go in and ask questions on tar sands were grouped together and answered in one clump, giving the board the chance to sidestep the issues raised – such as human rights, the failing business case for tar sands and aggressive lobbying against climate legislation – and reply with its prepared waffle. It’s clear that the tar sands are an uncomfortable issue for the company, and I’ll continue to try and attend their AGM in the future to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.”

Three representatives from Gulf Coast communities devastated by the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster also attended the AGM.

Transcripts of the UK Tar Sands Network’s questions, and summaries of BP’s answers, are available here.

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