The Rainforest Action Network team that is running for human rights in Ecuador at this Sunday’s Chevron Houston Marathon was just kicked out of the marathon’s Expo by Chevron Marathon Managing Director Steven Karpas!
The runners had paid for a table to distribute “I’m Running for Human Rights” stickers and information about Chevron’s refusal to clean up over 18 billion tons of toxic oil sludge they are responsible for in the Ecuadorean rainforest.
At approximately 10 a.m. this morning, Managing Director Steven Karpas told the Rainforest Action Network team, “higher ups at Chevron are freaking out” and threatened to arrest the peaceful runners. Police then ejected the runners from the city-owned and operated building for exercising their right to free speech.
“We are outraged that Chevron would deny marathon participants the right to run for what they believe, in our case, human rights in Ecuador,” said Rainforest Action Network runner Maria Ramos. “It is sad that the Chevron Houston Marathon – which raises awareness and money for many important causes – would deny the rights of participants to appease a corporate sponsor that is clearly ashamed of its human rights record.”
When asked for a reason for their ejection, Steven Karpas told the runners they were being removed for “protest activities.” The Rainforest Action Network team’s objective at the Expo was not to protest, disrupt the Expo or dampen other runners experience at this important race. The runners merely wanted to sit at their table and invite other runners to run with them for human rights.
Undeterred, the RAN running team stood outside the entrance and gave the stickers to runners going into the Expo. A really cool group of around 30 local high school students took the “I’m running for Human Rights” stickers and promised to wear them in the race on Sunday. Yay!
Ready to “freak” Chevron some more? Go to our brand new campaign website, www.ChangeChevron.org, and let Chevron’s new CEO John Watson know they’ve got to start respecting human rights.