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HUNDREDS of activists are planning their “biggest ever protest” at the British Museum against BP’s sponsorship of an Assyrian exhibition with “looted” objects from Iraq.
BP or not BP? campaigners, which will stage the action on Saturday, are concerned about the oil giant’s role in the Iraq war, its contribution to climate change and the industry’s negative impact in Iraq.
Activists are also pointing a finger at the exhibition itself, which includes ancient Iraqi artefacts originally looted by British explorers.
In November, BP or not BP? set up a fake welcoming committee outside of the exhibition, with Iraqi activists enacting a protest against the “BP spokespeople.”
BP or not BP? activist Maryam Hussain said: “The British Museum and BP should be ashamed. We have not forgotten, nor forgiven, the role that BP played in lobbying the British government for access to Iraq’s oil before the 2003 invasion.
“This outrageous exhibition only makes us more adamant in our demands for accountability of those who played a role in the invasion of Iraq.
“We will continue our fight for the decolonisation of our public institutions and resist the exploitation of people, land and environment by big oil companies.”
A rival exhibition at the nearby P21 Gallery will open tomorrow featuring work by artists from Iraq and those in diaspora to expose BP’s attempts to exploit Iraqi history in order to “artwash” its damaged image.
A British Museum spokesperson told the Star that the “long-term support” by BP allows the museum to plan its programming in advance and “to bring world cultures to a global audience through hugely popular exhibitions and their associated public programmes.”
Protesters will gather outside the museum on Saturday February 16 at 2pm.
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