Case: Bowoto v. Chevron
Peaceful Protest, Military Response: Chevron’s Complicity in Murder and Torture in Nigeria.
In 1998, in response to environmental and economic damage caused by Chevron’s oil producing activities in their communities, members of the Ilaje ethnic group in Nigeria organized a protest at a Chevron offshore oil platform. The Ilaje took small boats out to the platform and staged a nonviolent occupation; they were unarmed and no oil workers were harmed. In fact, armed Nigerian navy personnel remained at the platform throughout the protest. An internal Chevron memo sent the day after the protest started noted that the protestors “have thus far been peaceful.” A fax sent to the U.S. embassy the next day noted that the “villagers were unarmed and the situation has remained calm since their arrival.” But that same evening, Chevron called in the brutal Nigerian “mobile police,” known as the “kill and go” squad. The next morning, soldiers and police paid by Chevron arrived in Chevron helicopters, and shot and killed two protestors – one with four shots to the back, another with three shots to the side, according to autopsies. More protestors were arrested, and some were tortured. Chevron noted that the military was “closely supervised by” Chevron’s security personnel.