Londoners arrested for protesting petrocrat Stephen Harper, tar sands

Activists outside the British Parliament protest Canada's tar sands. (Photo: Facebook/Idle No More UK Solidarity Action)

By: Obert Madondo Twitter: @Obiemad

No Tar Sands Harper Protest in London 300x199 Londoners arrested for protesting petrocrat Stephen Harper, tar sands

Activists outside the British Parliament protest Canada’s tar sands. (Photo: Facebook/Idle No More UK Solidarity Action)

Environmental activists protesting “petrocrat” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our dirty tar sands were arrested at the British Parliament earlier today, The Guardian (UK) and other media report.

The protesters, identifying themselves as Love Canada, Hate Tar Sands, were arrested after climbing the roof of the British Parliament building with T-shirts saying ‘oil out of politics’, ‘stop Harper’ and ‘stop the tar sands’. They also spilled molasses on the floor outside the building.

The activists criticized the UK government for inviting Harper to deliver the first speech by a Canadian PM to the British Parliament since 1944. Harper addressed legislators in the House of Lords.

On Wednesday, the UK Tar Sands Network and a coalition of environmentalists said Harper was unworthy of the honour, “normally reserved for the most highly-respected dignitaries, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.”

The group supports the European Commission’s proposal to label oil from Canada’s tar sands as “highly polluting” . More polluting than conventional oil. That label would deter EU member countries from importing it.

A few authority-hugging UK media outlets portrayed the Love Canada, Hate Tar Sands protesters as a security threat. Sort of.

The Times said: “Westminster officials are investigating a significant security breach after environmental activists were apparently able to carry out a protest on the roof of Parliament during the visit of Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister.”

And the BBC: “Three people have been arrested for trespass during a protest against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Parliament.”

The activists justified their actions: “Canada, once a beautiful country, has had its reputation blackened by relentless petrocrat Prime Minister Stephen Harper… Harper should be shamed internationally but he is instead invited to address both houses of parliament. Harper has taken Canada down a dangerous climate path, destroyed whole ecosystems and overriding centuries-old treaty rights.”

Here’s their full statement:

Canada, once a beautiful country, has had its reputation blackened by relentless petrocrat Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

From further marginalising historically shunted Indigenous people, to muzzling world class climate scientists, Prime Minister Harper has shown time and again that nothing will stand between him and developing dirty tar sands, even though tar sands will create unprecedented global warming.

Now Harper brings his circus of oil peddlars to Europe to interfere in EU climate legislation, to push his monstrous industry onto Europeans.

Cameron’s government opens its arms to Harper and his cronies, bestowing upon them the great honour of addressing Parliament.

Instead of being honoured, Harper should be shamed internationally but he is instead invited to address both Houses of Parliament. Harper has taken Canada down a dangerous climate path, destroying whole ecosystems and overriding centuries-old treaty rights. Now is now trying to stain Europe too.

We will not let this go unchallenged.

We have acted, in solidarity with those resisting Harper everywhere, to STOP CLIMATE CRIMINAL HARPER.

We have entered Parliament to interrupt Harper’s speech. We have managed to climb onto the roof with t-shirts saying ‘oil out of politics’, ‘stop Harper’ and ‘stop the tar sands’. Two campaigners have spilled molasses on the floor outside of Parliament.

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About

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based activist and progressive political blogger. He's the founder and publisher of The Canadian Progressive blog and numerous other online publications.

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