Burma Protest against Total Oil at French Embassy (27/5/09)
After the demonstration at the Burma Embassy on the 19th Anniversary of NLD’s Landslide Electoral Victory and the 6th Anniversary of Depayin Massacre (see www.flickr.com/photos/totaloutnow/sets/72157621196369160/ ) Burmese protesters went to the French Embassy to protest against French Total Oil's shameful collaboration with the brutal Burmese dictatorship fuelling the military junta's oppression of the Burmese people and ethnic minorities by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Total operates the offshore Yadana gas field piping gas to Thailand. The military regime earns about a billion dollars a year from the gas field, which does not benefit the Burmese people. It is used to keep the corrupt evil military junta in power and keep millions of Burmese and ethnic minorities in oppression and misery. The military junta depends on this foreign currency to equip its army in its genocide of the Karen and other ethnic minorities as well as to crush democracy protests by students and monks.
Total knowingly invested in the Yadana gas pipeline in the mid 1990's. They were fully aware of the situation in Burma. There was no fighting in the area of the pipeline before its construction, but it lead to villages being displaced, forced labour to build military camps and attrocities against the people.
Total's Yadana gas pipeline has been such a massive source of funds for the military regime, it has played a major part in keeping the corrupt military junta in power, despite their overwhelming unpopularity.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won 82% of the vote in the 1990 elections, but the corrupt generals never honoured the election result. Aung San Suu Kyi has described Total as the "biggest supporter of the military regime in Burma".
Total's disgraceful management has made it very clear that they will only pull out of Burma when told to by the French Government.
Europe previously agreed not to include oil and gas in sanctions, so that sanctions could be escalated if needed. If Aung San Suu Kyi is further imprisoned as most expect, then Europe's bluff will have been called.
"If Europe imposes new sanctions on Myanmar's military regime they would hit the French energy giant Total's operations in the country and have far reaching consequences, France said Wednesday.
Speaking as EU countries mulled action against the junta over its treatment of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Total was the sole major European investor in the country.
"The only serious economic lever would obviously be Total," Kouchner told members of the French parliament"
For more information about Total Oil's investment in Burma see the Burma Campaign UK website: www.burmacampaign.org.uk/total.php.