Key West Ocean’s Day Rally Turns to BP Protest

June 8, 2010 was World Oceans Day.  Declared officially by the United Nations last year, this day celebrates how our oceans:

  • Generates most of the oxygen we breathe
  • Helps feed us
  • Regulates our climate
  • Cleans the water we drink
  • Offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines
  • Provides limitless inspiration!

Oil spill reaches Key West beaches.
Oil spill reaches Key West beaches. / Photo by Lee Coursey

World Oceans day is a day to promote ocean conservation, and in light of the recent oil spill tragedy affecting the Gulf of Mexico, it’s no wonder World Oceans Day in Key West, Florida turned into a British Petroleum (BP) protest.

Over 50 days ago, the Deepwater Horizon exploded spewing undisclosed amounts of oil into the Gulf.  BP claims to be recovering 630,000 gallons of oil a day, but the actual amount leaking is still not being revealed by the oil giant.  Gulf residents are frustrated and angry, as their way of life is forever changed.

Celebrating World Oceans Day in Key West, 400 Floridians gathered on Duval Street.  When demonstrators noticed BP spokesman Andrew Van Chau eating at a local restaurant, the rally turned into an oil spill protest. reports:

One woman screamed at him: “How can you sit here and eat when this is happening. All of us, people that live down here, we’re” in trouble.

Biddle said someone even mooned Van Chau, who hadn’t responded to questions by press time Tuesday.

“You always have the bad apples in everything,” Biddle said, “but this was really meant to celebrate World Oceans Day. If it was a demonstration against BP, we would have been much stronger and we would have had different posters.”

A demonstration against offshore drilling is planned for June 26, 2010. Hands Across the Sand has grown into an international event.

Hands Across the Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses political affiliations. This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, fishing industry and coastal military missions. Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.

Remaining positive while protesting is a challenge, especially when the negative effects of offshore drilling are in your backyard and so devastating.  Hands Across the Sand is a solidarity movement and is expected to “create the largest anti-offshore drilling gathering in history”.

Written by Jennifer Lance

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