London (CNSNews.com) - British environmental activists Wednesday blockaded a major Esso distribution center near London to protest ExxonMobil's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.
Around 50 Greenpeace supporters gained access to the depot at Purfleet early Wednesday, prompting the management to shut down operations and stop distribution "to ensure the safety of staff and the protesters," the company said in a statement.
Two shipping containers bolted to the road are preventing tankers from leaving or entering. Greenpeace volunteers have chained themselves inside each one, the group said. Police said one demonstrator had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
A banner being displayed inside the depot reads: "Stop Esso. Stop Bush."
Greenpeace has led calls for a global boycott of ExxonMobil, which it alleges was instrumental in President Bush's announcement earlier this year rejecting the Kyoto agreement on climate change.
"Esso is the world's number one global warming villain and is behind George Bush's refusal to sign up the U.S. to the Kyoto climate treaty," it said in a statement Wednesday.
Earlier this week, nations meeting in Bonn, Germany reached agreement on a watered-down version of the original agreement, which will see most industrialized nations reduce emissions of pollutants blamed for "global warming."
"The Kyoto agreement is now worthless - and we blame ExxonMobil," said one of the protesters, Phil Pritchard, calling the company "ruthless and immoral."
Esso rejected the claims, saying in a statement it was "ridiculous" to suggest that ExxonMobil was responsible for Bush's decision.
"There is no question that climate change is an important issue and one that we take very seriously," it said. "We refute the suggestion that opposition to Kyoto equates to a lack of concern about climate change or the environment."