Protest Party to Boycott BP, Shut Down ARCO Entrance

Thumbnail image for arco station.jpeg
It's about to get crazy up in this joint!
Party at the gas station! Approximately 150 guests are confirmed to attend the "ARCO/BP Shut Down Party" on the corner of Fell Street and Divisadero Street at 5:30 p.m. Organized by a group of friends, this party is actually a three-pronged environmental protest with rap music, provided by resident bike rapper, Fossil Fool.

The protest-party's slogan is, "Don't Boycott BP. Boycott all oil." Perhaps more true to form would be: "Boycott all oil, but especially boycott BP," since BP owns ARCO. Though the station was chosen partly because of its visibility at a busy intersection, the energy titan is by no means off the hook, given that protesters want to raise awareness about its role in the Gulf oil spill and encourage people to reduce their reliance on gas-guzzling cars.

Janel Sterbentz, an organizer for the event, said she hopes the Fell station will eventually be shut down. "There are already three gas stations within a three-block radius. We think that area could be put to better use, like a park, community garden or storefront."

This particular station is also cause for the protesters' ire because it blocks the The Wiggle lane -- a relatively flat bike route from Downtown to Haight Street --
and forces bicyclists into traffic.

For these three reasons -- the oil spill, the obstructed bicycle route, and energy consumption in general -- the protesters will block off the Fell entrance to the gas station with a banner that reads, "Closed for Total Rethink." Attendees have been encouraged to bring potted plants to cover the station in greenery. "We need to rethink how we get our energy and use more renewable energy instead of polluting, oil-based systems," Sterbentz said.

Gashaw, a cashier at the station who would reveal only his first name, said he was given advance notice about the protest, but was unaware about specifics.

"I don't mind as long as they don't bother the peace or the people," he said. "We all hurt about the spill."

But if the entrance were to be shut down or plants were to be placed on the premises, Gashaw said he would call the police.

In that case, it will be a double shutdown party.

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