Campaigners stage Olympic opening day ‘die in’

Campaigners in London yesterday staged their final pre-Olympic protest against the Dow Chemical sponsorship of the London Olympics.

Amnesty International, London Assembly Members, Meredith Alexander and artist Samar Jodha joined members from the Bhopal Medical Appeal at main Olympic site entrance for the demonstration.

Dow Chemical’s sponsorship has been the constant thorn in the side of the Olympics. Since their sponsorship deal with London was announced in August 2011 there has been constant protest and political pressure. The issue has never left the media spotlight.

On the Olympic opening day, the main protagonists of the anti-Dow campaign gathered for their final pre-Olympic statement. A press conference was held amongst a sea of bodies as supporters simultaneously staged a ‘die-in’ protest.

Speakers included:

  • London Assembly Members: Navin Shah AM and Darren Johnson AM who recently put forward an anti-Dow motion to the Assembly. This was passed on July 11th.
  • Meredith Alexander the erstwhile ‘sustainablity tsar’ to LOCOG who resigned in protest at the Dow deal.
  • Amnesty International Representative.
  • Bhopal Medical Appeal Representative.

Navin Shah said:

“I am proud that the Games are taking place in London but the protesters like me are simply against the sponsorship of Dow Chemical who have betrayed the victims of the Bhopal Disaster. These protests symbolise peoples’ concerns about large scale environmental and human rights abuses- Dow Chemical’s refusal to present Union Carbide to the Indian Courts, to face the outstanding charges standing against it ,being a prime example- and these protests have not gone away. I want the London Olympics to leave a legacy that will force the IOC to implement the Olympic’s Charter ethics and ban sponsorship by companies, like Dow, not willing to accept their responsibilities.”

Colin Toogood said:

“We, The Bhopal Medical Appeal, are extremely proud of London. We are a UK based charity and believe that, on the whole, the Olympics project has been pulled together with great success. However, we should not be blind to it’s darker side and the Dow Chemical sponsorship has clearly ben a huge error. We are proud that London, the rest of the UK, and pretty much the entire world has backed our campaign to have Dow kicked out of the Olympics. It’s just a pity that LOCOG refused to listen to the facts that we presented to them, about Dow’s abuses, and it is LOCOG that will have to live with the damage that they have allowed to happen to the reputation of an otherwise excellent Games.”

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We believe Dow 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.