After playing dead on top of oil-black plastic sheets outside a Chevron office, protesters marched through downtown San Francisco on Monday to denounce “oil addiction” on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, as the U.S. Gulf Coast recovers from its more recent disaster. About 100 marchers, drawn from activist groups ranging from Code Pink to the Rainforest Action Network, took part in the ”Climate Justice” protest to demand that BP pay to clean up the mess in the Gulf and that the industry clean up its act in general. (BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion for spill damage claims and to pay all legitimate losses related to the spill.) Protestors also called for ”real solutions” after briefly blocking the entrance to the headquarters of Chevron Energy Solutions, the oil giant’s solar power arm. “Let’s get power from the sun: oil is over, oil is done,” the marchers chanted, on their way to the local branch of the Environmental Protection Agency and then to a BP office.
Some of them wore bright white jumpsuits splattered with molasses to simulate oil stains. At first, half a dozen motorcycle cops tried in vain to herd the marchers on to the sidewalk amid busy lunchtime traffic, before agreeing on a route and escorting them to the EPA. Many tourists, out enjoying the mild sunny weather, snapped photos for posterity as the march passed by world-famous cable cars at the end of California Street, with one declaring excitedly: “Oh, a San Francisco protest — I got to get this.”