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NEWS: Bhopal survivors protest Dow sponsorship of 2012 Olympic Games

The Associated Press reports, “Hundreds of survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster burned effigies of two Olympics officials Friday to protest Dow Chemicals’ sponsorship of the London Games. The protests were on the eve of the 27th anniversary of the disaster in Bhopal, India, where a Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked lethal gas that killed an estimated 15,000 people and maimed tens of thousands more. …The survivors say the Olympic sponsorship deal gave undue publicity to a company that was refusing to clean up the toxic contamination of soil and groundwater in Bhopal.”

“The Indian government is seeking $1.7 billion for the victims from Union Carbide, and activists accuse Dow of not cleaning up contamination in Bhopal. Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state where Bhopal is located, last month wrote a letter to India’s Sports Minister Ajay Maken asking that the country boycott the London Olympics, which start in July. At least 21 Indian Olympic athletes have also urged the organizers of the London Games to end Dow’s sponsorship of the Games, which includes a curtain-style wrap around a stadium where some Olympic events will be held.”

The Council of Canadians protested the sponsorship by RBC, Petro-Canada, and Coca-Cola of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. In December 2009, the Canadian Press reported Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow saying, “I think the corporate stranglehold has really grown, and it’s really time for us to name it. I would rather the Olympics are what we wish they were. I would like the Olympic Games to be out of the hands of corporations.” We also highlighted that the 2010 Vancouver Games were being held on unceded First Nations territories and provided mining, resort, real estate and energy developers with opportunities to continue expansion of projects on Indigenous territories throughout the province. To see a video of Council of Canadians Board member Chief Garry John at a protest against the Olympics in Vancouver, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=2572.