Demonstrators in at least eight states, including a crowd of 200 that won the support of motorists in Anchorage, Alaska, paraded to promote a national boycott of Exxon Corp. products because of the Alaska oil spill.
"It's the culmination of our attempts to raise public awareness," said Connecticut state Sen. Michael Meotti, who coordinated Tuesday's effort in his state as well as in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. The Alaska protest was not part of Meotti's plan.In a telephone interview from his office in the state capital of Hartford, Meotti said there was a disappointing turnout in his own state because of the bad weather. He said fewer than 60 people braved the rainy weather to demonstrate at Fort Hale Park in New Haven.
"Our core effort is not geared to demonstrations," the legislator said, but to generate public support for state and federal legislation to make Exxon and other oil companies responsible for oil spills like the one from the tanker Exxon Valdez, which spilled 10.9 million gallons of oil into Alaska waters.
In Madison, Wis., Democratic state legislators linked arms with Wisconsin environmental groups to urge state residents to boycott Exxon products.
Rep. Tom Seery of Milwaukee said the group also wanted state Attorney General Don Hanaway to investigate why gasoline prices have jumped since Exxon's oil tanker ran aground last month.
Seery cited "the danger of being too dependent on traditional fossil fuel sources. . . . The (Exxon) Valdez wouldn't have even been up there if we weren't so fuel-thirsty as a culture."
In Anchorage, about 200 sign-waving protesters, many wearing black armbands, massed in front of Exxon's Alaska headquarters, protesting the company's response to the spill and supporting the boycott. They drew thumbs-up support and honks from motorists.
"Where has the president of the United States been?" asked Chancy Croft, former Democratic nominee for Alaska governor, prompting the crowd to break into chanting, "Where's George?"