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Hundreds of UK Climate Activists Blockade Oil Refineries

Hundreds of UK Climate Activists Blockade Oil Refineries

Today hundreds of climate activists taking part in the Crude Awakening day of action have successfully blockaded the Coryton and Shell Haven oil refineries in Essex, including the UK's busiest oil refinery and distribution centre.

The blockade started with 12 female activists blockading the main entrance of the oil refinery by locking themselves to immobilized vehicles on both lanes of the road, preventing oil tanker lorries from leaving the refinery to deliver oil to London. In a coordinated move the blockade was joined by around 500 activists from London taking part in the Crude Awakening who also blockaded the road. Previously announced plans to target central London oil businesses were revealed to be a bid to outfox the police, with Coryton having been the ultimate destination all along.

It is estimated that so far over 50 tanker lorries are being held up by the blockade, preventing the flow of 375,000 gallons of oil from the refineries. There are no reports of any arrests of any activists involved in the action. Activists briefly lifted the blockade to allow workers to leave at the end of their shift, however continued to prevent any oil tanker lorries accessing or leaving the site

Julie Allen, an activist at the blockade said: “We've come here to the source of the problem, to put our bodies in the way of the relentless flow of oil to say – no more. If we're to have a hope of tackling climate change we need to find a way to get over oil. It won't happen overnight, but we can, and must move beyond oil.”

Murray Smith, an activist taking part in the Crude Awakening said: “Just months after the Deepwater Horizon the Government is handing out licences for the same kind of risky deepwater drilling and opposing international regulation. Oil companies and the Government are continuing to seek out the last drops of the earth's oil even though we know we have to move away from oil now. The only way we can stop this relentless flow is by ordinary people and social movements taking action to say enough is enough.”

The Crude Awakening is supported by a spectrum of direct action groups including the Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid, Rising Tide, Space Hijackers, Liberate Tate, Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Earth First! and the UK Tar Sands Network.

Short film at http://www.youandifilms.com/2010/10/crude-awakening-coryton-blockade/

pics@: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crudeawakening/5086755842/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/crudeawakening/5086755778/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/crudeawakening/5086755758/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/crudeawakening/5086745502/

ENDS For more information and interviews, call 07917742175 or email crudeawakeningpress@yahoo.com

Live update stream and pictures from the blockade available at www.crudeawakening.org.uk

Follow updates on twitter on @crudeawake

Note to editors

[1] Coryton Refinery The Manorway Stanford-le-Hope Essex SS17 9LL

Coryton is owned by Petroplus and has a refining capacity of 10 million tonnes per year. It is the UK's busiest oil refinery and supplies oil to petrol stations, airports and factories throughout London and the south-east. Its users include BP and Shell.

Photo credit - Kristian Buus