Gulf Oil Spill Inspires Protest at Manhattan Gas Station

By MEGAN K. SCOTT
|  Saturday, May 29, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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Some of the protesters splashed themselves in fake oil.

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About 200 protesters — some dripping with fake oil, others wearing pictures of fish on their heads — gathered at a BP station Friday evening to demand the company take responsibility for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A BP drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and sending millions of gallons of oil into the water. The oil is beginning to foul beaches, kill wildlife and cripple the tourism and fishing industries.

Protesters in lower Manhattan waved signs such as "Clean Up Don't Cover Up" and chanted "BP Your Heart is Black, You Can Have Your Oil Back." Some doused themselves in chocolate and water-based paint to simulate an oil spill.

"I would like to see people in the streets, and I would like to see the world come to a standstill in disgust with what's going on," said Jessica Delfino, a musician who lives in Manhattan. She was holding a sign that said "Methinks the world doth not protest enough."

Dana Balicki, national campaign manager for CODEPINK, one of sponsors, said the original plan was for protesters to walk into the gas station at 6 p.m. and start pouring oil on themselves.

But the police put a barricade around the station, making it impossible for them to enter, she said.

"It's about showing New York, it's about showing the world, that we are not going to stand by and let the administration or let this corporation pawn off their mistakes on the taxpayers," she said.

Protesters are demanding that BP be held responsible for all cleanup costs, and that the government redirect energy and financing into renewable fuels, among other things.

Balicki called the demonstration a flash protest. Later on, it seemed like those gathered were more mingling than protesting.

Joe Sharkey, 28, of Brooklyn, had Pump Blood Not Oil written in glitter paint on his bare chest.

"Bike power, human power can get us most of the places we need to go," he said, adding that he was promoting the World Naked Bike Ride on June 12. "We don't need to be drilling for fossil fuels."

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