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Pro-Palestine Demonstrators Stage Sit-In at British Museum over BP Deal


On February 11, pro-Palestinian protestors recently staged a sit-in at the British Museum over its 10-year deal with BP.




Last December, the museum announced a £50 million ($63.3 million) sponsorship deal with BP, funding that is used for the refurbishment and redisplay of the museum’s permanent collection over a 10-year span. Trustees of the board raised ethical and safety concerns behind the scenes about the deal, citing conflicts of interest involving board chair George Osborne and two other board members with connections to BP.




The group Energy Embargo for Palestine posted on the social media platform X a reference to the news that BP was one of six companies granted gas licenses by Israel on October 30 last year. “We will not watch idly as energy companies based in Britain fuels Israel’s colonial genocide,” the group wrote.




Energy Embargo for Palestine said it organized the event with Palestine Solidarity Campaign. According to the Telegraph , the Metropolitan Police was notified of the protest but “did not attend.”




BP’s support of the British Museum goes back nearly three decades, to 1996. In addition to sponsoring exhibitions, the oil company funded a theater space at the institution in 2000.




“The British Museum respects other people’s right to express their views and allows peaceful protest onsite at the museum as long as there is no risk to the collection, staff or visitors,” a museum spokesman told the Telegraph .




Activists have repeatedly protested BP’s financial ties to the British Museum, urging the institution to drop the oil company as a funder through actions staged within the galleries. In 2019, the novelist Ahdaf Soueif resigned from the board of the British Museum, citing BP’s funding. In February 2020, the climate activist group BP or Not BP staged a weekend-long protest at the British Museum that included a 13-foot-tall Trojan Horse.




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