Laying the foundations
The Galp Must Fall action was almost demanded to us – with Galp announcing that it wants to double its oil and gas production in the countries of the Global South, our friends of “Justiça Ambiental!” (Environmental Justice!) in Mozambique challenging us to go to the shareholders’ meeting, and also with Galp deciding to distribute dividends in the middle of the economic and oil crisis at this general meeting while firing workers from its refineries.
“Galp’s fossil gas project in Mozambique is removing hundreds of families from their homes and calculating “compensations” based on the number of palm trees on each land. Are there any less ridiculous forms of extractivism?”
The day started with the digital climate strike #DigitalStrike, with the slogan #DefendTheDefenders, lending voice to the fight against fossil gas projects in Mozambique. Still in the morning, the labor union SITE-Sul organized a sit-in in front of the Sines plant. Hélder Guerreiro, one of the union’s leaders, who also belongs to Petrogal’s workers commission, sent us a message: “It is essential to guarantee the rights and remunerations of workers.” We agreed and added: not only during this public health crisis, but also throughout the energy transition.
“90 workers at the Galp Petrogal refinery in Sines were fired. Why not teach them online about renewable energies, so they are prepared for the fall of Galp? Would Galp pay for this?”
Act 1: Online e Offline
During the morning, we were on social media and asked Galp many questions.
“In a 2019 Reuters report:” Galp says its oil production increased by 15% in 2018 and expects increases of 8-12% in 2019 and 12-16% in 2020. Does Galp consider its fossil fuel operations to be a criminal activity that condemns the future of humanity?”
Digital climate strike activists also joined with a Twitter Storm. As a result, all social networks bursted with complaints, questions and comments about Galp’s social and climate injustices.
“How often does Galp meet with staff, assistants, bureaucrats, etc. of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy in informal settings? What do they talk about? Can we see the minutes?”
But we were also offline. A T-rex, properly protected by a mask and accompanied by two activists at a distance of two meters, visited Galp’s headquarters where the Annual General Assembly was being held, complaining: “Leave what’s left of me under the ground!” Then, activists were shutting down Galp’s gas stations for ecocide.
Act 2: Galp Must Fall Live
Before the demonstration (Act 4) began, our artivist team launched a series of live concerts and conversations with artists from several countries where Galp has projects: Bergalgo (Portugal), TRKZ (Mozambique), Nitry (Cape Verde) and Djucu Dabó (Guinea-Bissau) joined this anti-extractivist and anti-colonialist festival. Daniel (Justiça Ambiental!, Friends of the Earth Mozambique) and Nicole (350.org Brazil) also participated, with speeches about the fight for climate justice.
About 400 people watched Galp Must Fall Live on Instagram.
Act 3: Activist-shareholders
We were also inside the Annual General Meeting, which started at 3pm and was held online.
We sent them many questions three weeks before the meeting, 5% of which had elusive responses via email. During the meeting, we were only allowed to ask short questions in writing (we were not allowed to speak), some of which were selected for a response. Our final balance of the meeting is: we obtained unsatisfactory answers for 10% of our questions, and for the rest not even that.
“If Galp is confronted in court for crimes against humanity for fueling climate chaos while being aware of the scientific consensus, how will Galp’s administration defend itself?”
More specifically: Galp takes no responsibility for the layoffs at the refineries, for the evictions in Mozambique and for the absurd salaries of the managers (claiming they were similar to other companies – and we counted this as an answer… can you imagine?), and says that fossil gas is a good thing. So everything is fine.
And, if you were curious: there’s no talk about climate change in the assembly of the biggest oil company in Portugal.
Act 4: Online Demonstration
During the shareholders’ meeting, we also organized an online demonstration, using manif.app.
“Why does Galp’s CEO earn 197 times the minimum wage and 35 times more than the average Galp worker? What merits justify this? Like, is his CV 197 times longer than mine?”
We started at 3pm in Mozambique, at Galp headquarters in Maputo, with more than 150 online activists, in solidarity with the frontline struggles, demanding reparations for the affected communities and ecosystems.
Then we moved to Sines, in solidarity with the refinery workers, demanding a fair transition for all workers in the oil industry.
We went on to Galp’s headquarters in Lisbon, the epicenter of climate and social injustice in Portugal, to demand an energy democracy that is public and 100% renewable.
In total, more than 300 people participated in this first online demonstration in Portugal.