February 18, 2005

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Dept.

OK, ONE LAST POST before we go.

The Times of London has a downright surreal report about environment activists who tried to bring trading at the International Petroleum Exchange to a halt. The protestors got onto the trading floor and started blowing whistles, letting off noisemakers, and so on. The idea was that all the noise would stop the open-outcry trading which happens at the exchange.

The Times reveals the protest was going quite well -- until the enraged traders began beating the crap out of the protestors:

WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.

What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement.

We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs, one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. Ive never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.

Another said: I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot. Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: Sod off, Swampy.

The traders are alleged to have grabbed the protestors and applied brute force through severe punches and kicks, starting from when the protest began until the traders forcibly threw the activists out of the exchange. The traders are also alleged to have tried crushing the protestors by pushing really large file cabinets on top of them. Two of the 35 protestors were hospitalized following the incident, The Times said.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at February 18, 2005 12:31 AM | TrackBack

This is a great story. The 'Sod off, Swampy' remark has more cultural weight in the UK than you may realise. 'Swampy' (real name Daniel Hooper) was a flavour-of-the-month celebrity in 1997, who made his name by constructing and occupying underground tunnels to oppose road-building. He has since become the archetype of the unwashed enemy of progress.

Posted by: Jon Barnard at February 18, 2005 06:40 PM

Hi Jon,

Knowing that certainly gives the story an extra dimension beyond the farcical nature of the whole IPE incident!

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at February 21, 2005 09:13 PM

Ben, you are developing an eerie resemblance to Karl Rove...

Posted by: Cullen at February 22, 2005 03:05 PM