Veolia is a French multi-national involved in waste management, water and transport. It is a particularly ethically detestable company as it profits directly from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine.
Veolia is involved in the building and operation of the recently developed Jerusalem light rail which has appropriated Palestinian land, and connects Israeli West Jerusalem to illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. In April 2010 the UN Human Rights Council declared this tramway and its operation to be illegal. In addition, Veolia takes waste and rubbish from Israel and illegal Settlements and dumps this in landfills on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. The company recently secured a contract to manage waste produced by the Occupying Israeli army in the Palestinian West Bank. As a result of these activities, Veolia has already lost contracts worth millions of pounds in the UK (see:
http://www.bigcampaign.org/veolia/ for more information).
The activists who demonstrated on the opening day of the exhibition in Oxford were united in their rejection of Science Oxford's association with such a distastful organisation. Discussions with Science Oxford by members of Oxford PSC initially led to an agreement to put up a display stand from PSC with information about Veolia, but this was later withdrawn as the CEO felt that a political stance was "outside their scientific remit"
Both actions which included leafleting and some good discussions with passersby were very successful. There was lots of public support – much honking and waving from cars, and visits by young hip-hop fans who filmed us and by a local LBGT member brought us some cookies from her group. An American lady who joined the picket was amazed at the public support, saying it would be very different in the U.S,A.
We will continue to let Science Oxford know how we feel about Veolia's sponsorship of the exhibition they are hosting. Protests will take place every Saturday from 2-4pm outside Science Oxford , 1-5 London Place, St Clements while the exhibition is running. (January 28th - March 10th inclusive)
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