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Saturday, February 19, 2005

International Petroleum Exchange riot

When a trader left the building shortly before 2pm, using a security swipe card, a protester dropped some coins on the floor and, as he bent down to pick them up, put his boot in the door to keep it open.

Oil is a metaphor for greed. More than anything in this story, the Greenpeace Kyoto demonstrators opening gambit to gain access to the petroleum trading floor shows a jaded brilliance. The theory goes that rich people will go out of their way to grab coins off the street, even though it is not time/cost-effective to do so.

And, given the next scene, the trader probably did not pick up the coins out of kindness to his fellow man:
“They grabbed us and started kicking and punching. Then when we were on the floor they tried to push huge filing cabinets on top of us to crush us.”

As I write this, Air America Radio's Laura Flanders is interviewing Greenpeace's climate campaigner Kurt Davies who verifies in a low-key manner the filing cabinet incident. Go to Air America Place for archives.


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