Activists from Fossil Free London protested in front of the Uganda High Commission in Trafalgar Square in solidarity with seven Ugandan student activists facing trial on Friday 8 December. The students’ arrests came after they protested against the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
EACOP: huge environmental and human rights impacts
As the Canary‘s Hannah Sharland previously reported, TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation are joint venture partners on the $10-billion EACOP project to develop oilfields in Uganda.
The project involves fossil fuel companies drilling around 400 oil wells in Murchison Falls National Park. Notably, this is the largest protected area in Uganda. The companies will then transport the crude along the 1,445-kilometre (900-mile) EACOP to the Tanzanian port of Tanga.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has hailed the project as an economic boon. However, environmental and human rights organisations and activists have been fiercely opposing the project.
Groups have called out EACOP’s shocking environmental and human rights impacts. As the Canary‘s Tracy Keeling has detailed, the project threatens nearly 2,000km² of biodiverse protected wildlife habitats.
Moreover, the Parliament of the European Union has estimated that the project could displace over 100,000 people.
To make matters worse, the Canaryhighlighted a Business and Human Rights Resource Centre report which singled out TotalEnergies for the impacts of EACOP on environmental defenders. In particular, attacks on rights defenders associated with the project placed TotalEnergies within the top five worst companies for these types of human rights violations. Now, this includes seven students who protested the project.
So, people in the UK have shown solidarity with them.
Fossil Fuel London: out in solidarity
Twenty activists from Fossil Fuel London protested in front of the High Commission shouting “Stop EACOP”, “Free the students” while holding banners:
They showed photos of the seven Ugandan protesters:
Two weeks ago, authorities arrested the seven students for peacefully petitioning the Ugandan Parliament against EACOP. The students were held in police custody for four days before being remanded to the Luzira Maximum Prison. They were held at the prison until 8 of December, 2023 – where they now face trial. Authorities are still keeping them locked up:
Prior to construction of EACOP, thousands of people have been displaced, wildlife threatened with millions of lives having a future at risk. Critics to the oil pipeline are threatened with longer periods of brutal stay in prison with 7 of our members on remand untill 19th Dec. pic.twitter.com/3Waglvzjbm
Building the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline across Africa’s largest lake in the midst of climate breakdown is violent, reckless and unjust.
Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation are displacing people who are already suffering on the frontlines of the climate crisis, from their homes and livelihoods; profiting from this destruction.
And whilst these corporations and banks make billions on the back of people’s torn apart lives, Ugandan authorities arrest peaceful protesters who speak out against this injustice. We stand in solidarity with them and demand all charges to be dropped.
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