BP or not BP? staged the demonstration as part of a day of action convened by the Alaskan Indigenous organizations Defend the Sacred AK and Native Movement.
“I am disappointed that it took the death of an unarmed Black man for you to join the conversation about the colonial past and present of the British Museum,” says Bayryam Mustafa Bayryamali in a letter addressed to director Hartwig Fischer.
Hundreds of activists occupied the British Museum for a protest lasting over two days straight, coinciding with the BP-sponsored exhibition Troy: Myth and Reality.
Activist group BP or not BP? interrupted the opening of Troy: Myth and Reality at the British Museum, dressed as “living statues,” including a character of their own invention, “Petroleus.”
The gallery follows in the footsteps of Tate, the National Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
BP or not BP? launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a giant Trojan Horse for its largest protest yet, which will coincide with the museum’s Troy: Myth and Reality exhibition.
“We are all together in this crisis and we all must change,” Rylance said in an opinion article published in the Guardian. “I am resigning to lend strength to the voices within the RSC who want to be progressive, and to encourage my fellow associates to express themselves, too.”
Dozens of protesters blocked entry to the gallery for guests of the ceremony, linking arms and chaining themselves to the gallery gates. Guests were forced to climb over the wall with the assistance of security in order to enter the gallery.
During the event, speakers called for the repatriation of objects acquired through colonialism and an end to sponsorship from the oil company BP.
On February 16, for a protest organized by BP or not BP?, over 350 activists gathered to urge the British Museum to cut financial ties with British oil company BP.
Performance troupe BP or Not BP? organized a “Stolen Goods Tour” at the British Museum, where activists of Australian Aboriginal, Iraqi, Hawaiian, Māori, and Greek Cypriot heritage called for the repatriation of looted artifacts in the museum’s collection.
Performers dressed as BP employees sipped oil-contaminated champagne, and protesters displayed facts about BP’s exploitation of Iraqi resources.