Bhopal activists tell LOCOG to ‘Drop Dow Now’ as they stage die-in and petition hand-in

Bhopal Activists and Survivors hand petition to LOCOGOn Friday 30th activists supporting survivors of the 1984 gas disaster gathered in London to tell the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympics Games (LOCOG) to ‘Drop Dow Now.’

Activists staged a ‘die-in’ whereby they handed over 22,700 signatories from two petitions that have been running for several months. The Change.org petition has over 28,000 signatures from the UK, and the SumOfUs petition has over 36,000 from signatories all over the world.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a press conference with the LOCOG Chair Lord Coe and CEO Paul Deighton on the morning of Friday the 30th.

Activists believe that Dow is contaminating the London Olympics with its toxic sponsorship whilst trying to whitewash the reality of the continuing tragedy in Bhopal. They urge the IOC as well as LOCOG to ‘Drop Dow Now.’

The Dow sponsorship of the games continues to leave a controversial cloud hanging over the 2012 Olympic. When Dow purchased Union Carbide in 2001, outstanding civil and criminal liabilities from the disaster still existed. Union Carbide continues to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

Activists and survivors of say that 25,000 people have been killed in subsequent years since the disaster, and that thousands more are currently affected today. For an Olympic games that is priding itself for its’ ethical and sustainable stand, a sponsor of this kind is hugely inappropriate, say survivors and activists.  Rights groups, athletes and Indian and British politicians have all similarly called for the company’s sponsorship to be terminated.

After Friday’s events, Lord Coe and others from LOCOG say they are willing to meet with activists to discuss their concerns. “The answer is yes. But actually it will be an ongoing exchange. We have been talking for some time but clearly the answer is yes,” said Coe on the matter of a proposed meeting with the protestors.

Tim Edwards, from of the Bhopal Medical Appeal, one of the ‘protestors’ Lord Coe refers to, has been writing to LOCOG since August 2011, trying to warn both of the plainly unsuitable nature of Dow Chemical and of the inevitable protests that would greet its sponsorship of Britain’s Olympics.

“Our letters draw attention to the ongoing water poisoning in Bhopal and the resulting spate of physical and mental disabilities that our clinics must treat but, sadly, this did not prevent LOCOG striking a separate deal for Dow Chemical to also sponsor Britain’s Paralympics” explained Tim.

He continues: “As we are yet to receive so much as a single reply to any of our letters, we very much look forward to hearing in person Lord Coe’s thoughts on the universal legal principles ‘polluter pays’ and ‘successor liability’ in the very near future.”

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.