International Day of Action Targets Dow Chemical Company


Local Action in Solidarity with Bhopal Victims and Hunger Striker Diane Wilson

 

For immediate release: August 14, 2002

Contacts:
Mojgone Azemun, Ruckus Society (510) 772-3087; moj@ruckus.org
Nadia Khastagir, CorpWatch India (415) 561 6568; nadia@corpwatch.org

WHERE: Dow Chemical plant, 901 Loveridge Rd. Pittsburg, CA

WHEN: THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 11:00 am.



(Pittsburg, CA)-- Environmental leaders and other concerned citizens will
stage a protest on August 15 in coordination with an international day of
action against Dow Chemical Company to demand that Dow assume Union
Carbide's liabilities for the gas disaster in Bhopal, India.

On December 2, 1984, deadly gases at a Union Carbide (now owned by Dow
Chemical) plant in Bhopal, India, leaked, killing 8,000 people in three
days. Over 20,000 have died since and even today, one person a day dies as
a result of the exposure to the deadly gases released. Over 100,000 people
still suffer from the injuries caused by inhaling the toxic gases.
Protesters will also demand that the Indian Government move to reverse the
application to reduce criminal charges against Warren Anderson, CEO of
Union Carbide at the time, who has been absconding from justice. Reduction
of criminal charges will effectively extinguish any hope of justice for
Bhopal survivors.

Gas-affected survivors have received an average of about US$500 for their
suffering, an amount grossly insufficient to cover ongoing medical expenses
and loss of livelihood. Meanwhile, toxic chemicals left recklessly behind
by Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) have contaminated the drinking water of
these communities, leading to another Bhopal disaster.

On June 28, Indian activists from Bhopal began a hunger strike outside the
Indian Parliament in New Delhi. The strike lasted until July 17, spurring
similar actions elsewhere in India, as well as New York, Washington DC;
Cape Town, South Africa; Madrid, Spain and Venice, Italy. On July 17, Diane
Wilson, a shrimp boat captain and longtime environmental campaigner from
Seadrift, Texas, began a hunger strike that has lasted 27 days and
inspiredmass national and international action, to culminate on August 15,
Indian Independence Day, at various locations around the world.
"There are no boundaries," commented Diane from the back of her pickup
truck parked across the street from Dow's facility in Seadrift. "The way
they treat the people in India is how they are treating us-- the accident
to expose it just hasn't happened yet."

Nadia Khastagir, an Indian American working with CorpWatch, said, "The
Bhopal case is a perfect example of what goes wrong when corporations wield
too much power. Dow Chemical's failure to deal with the ongoing Bhopal
crisis will lead to many more Bhopals."

The Pittsburgh event will coincide with other protests in Bhopal,
Washington DC, Seadrift, Houston and Freeport, TX, Venice and Torrance, CA,
and Midland, MI. Protesters will carry banners and brooms to demand that
Dow Chemicals "clean up its mess" and declare a day of independence from
corporate rule. They will circulate a petition that already bears thousands
of signatures, and deliver it to Dow executives.

Participating organizations include CorpWatch, the Circle of Life
Foundation, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), various California PIRGs, Bay
Area Friends of Bhopal, Essential Action, the Ruckus Society, Public
Citizen and many others.

Among the speakers/participants: Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill,
city of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, writer/environmental spokesperson Susan Griffin,
and Randy Hayes, founder
of RAN.

For more information on Bhopal, including photographs, see www.bhopal.net
and www.CorpWatchIndia.org
--
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