Around 500 activists from various climate groups descended on the Coryton oil refinery near Stanford-le-Hope to impose a blockade preventing oil tankers from leaving and were successful until the evening. Coryton, United Kingdom, 16/10/2010
Dubbed the 'Crude Awakening', the event today was part of a global week of action against the fossil fuels industry. It was supported by various groups such as the Space Hijackers, Plane Stupid, the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Rising Tide, Climate Camp, Liberate Tate, Earth First and the UK Tar Sands network.
Activists gathered in London at 10am forming three blocs of people, the dirty money bloc, the body bloc and the building bloc. Each left from different locations in London, Euston, Victoria and Waterloo respectively, so as not to pick up a massive police trail.
The dirty money bloc traveled to Fenchurch St and exited the tube to board a train heading east out of London.
On the train, activists handed out goody bags and got dressed into white boiler suits and masks. Information was also handed out regarding the location of the protest, the Coryton oil refinery.
The refinery is the busiest in the United Kingdom providing oil to BP, Shell and Exxon to name a few. By blockading the road, distribution was stopped dead. Every tanker that is stopped from exiting prevents 34,000 litres (7,500 gallons) of fuel flowing into London.
Upon arrival at Stanford-le-Hope there was about a 30 minute walk to the refinery site to the east. The police made efforts to contain the bloc, but the open fields provided an opportunity for the activists to reach their destination. They stopped and searched many people at the end of the field.
As the bloc approached the refinery a host of BP and Shell oil tankers rapidly exited before they could be blocked in.
One group of twelve women had managed to travel down The Manorway, leading into the refinery, with two vans with which they blocked off the road and linked arms under the vehicles to prevent the police from moving them. The dirty money bloc backed up their action whilst the body and building blocs set up another barricade further west on the same road. Although a group of energised city police broke through one side of the blockade at one point, it amounted to nothing.
The protesters were escorted back to the train station just before 6pm. According to reports 375,000 gallons of fuel were stopped from leaving the depot as a result of the action.