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‘Vikings’ protest inside the British Museum over BP sponsorship

One person was arrested during a protest held inside the Great Court of the British Museum on Sunday. About 200 people attended the protest, including some dressed as Vikings, which was directed against the sponsorship of the museum’s exhibitions by BP, a British multinational oil and gas company.

Protesters make a Viking longship in the British Museum – Photo by Hugh Warwick via BP or Not BP
Protesters make a Viking longship in the British Museum – Photo by Hugh Warwick via BP or Not BP

BP has sponsored the museum’s Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition. The protest was organized by Reclaim Shakespeare Company, which believes the multinational should be focusing on more environmentally-friendly practices in their oil and gas mining rather than seeking better public relations through their sponsorship of museums and cultural activities.

One person was arrested during the protest and held for two hours by police before being arrested. Sarah Horne, who took part in the protest, said: “Despite over-the-top security and an outrageous and unnecessary arrest, we sent a clear message to the British Museum today: we will not sit by and let our cultural institutions be used as a cheap PR tool by destructive companies. BP provides less than 1% of the annual income of the British Museum, and yet gets enormous branding and public relations benefits in return, allowing it to hide its real activities around the world.”

You can learn more about the protest group from their website BP or Not BP. The British Museum has been very grateful about the support that BP has given their institution over the last 17 years – you can read more from the museum here.

You can also watch a report from Britain’s Channel 4 about previous protests at the British Museum and the issue of corporate funding of cultural institutions:

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