[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Media Advisory on ARCO Meeting

F R E E   B U R M A   C O A L I T I O N 
225 North Mills Street, Madison, WI  53706
Tel (608) 827-7734, Fax (608) 263-9992



Los Angeles, May 1, 1998 --  An international coalition of democracy and
labor activists and concerned investors is focusing attention on Los
Angeles-base oil giant ARCO, calling for it to terminate its continued
financial support of the brutal Burmese military junta.

A three day fast, with participants in 4 countries and 25 cities begins on
Sunday, May 3.  Many of the fasters will come to Los Angeles to join a
demonstration at ARCOÕs annual shareholder meeting, which is Monday, May
4, 9 am, 333 S. Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Joining the demonstrators is renowned jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Shorter won a 1998 Grammy Award for a collaboration with Herbie Hancock,
titled ÒAung San Suu Kyi.Ó  Aung San Suu Kyi is the Nobel Peace Prize
winning leader of BurmaÕs democracy movement, which won 1990 elections
overwhelmingly, but which has been violently suppressed by the junta.  She
and her party have called oil company support for the junta Òshameful.Ó

Shorter will also be joined by Burmese Buddhist monks, and numerous
members of the Burmese exile community in California.

ARCO is under rising pressure over its close financial ties to the pariah
regime from Burma.  This week the junta sentenced six student activists to
death for political activities.  Last week the junta sentenced a 60 year
old woman, elected representative Daw San San, to a 25 year prison term
for giving an interview to the BBC.  Both actions have been severely
condemned by the US government, and have gone without comment from ARCO.

ARCO is fighting a proposed law in its home town of Los Angeles that would
restrict city contracts with companies doing business in Burma.  It argues
that the City has no right to pass such a spending measure.

ARCO shareholders will vote on a resolution calling for an investigation
into allegations that ARCO payments to the junta have been used to launder
drug money in Burma.  The US government reports that 60% of the heroin on
US streets comes from Burma, and that the junta systematically launders
drug money.

This week the University of Washington student government called for the
rejection of ARCO as a Pac-10 sponsor, due to the companyÕs support for
the junta, which has also kept Burmese Universities closed since December,
1996.  Student groups at seven Pac-10 universities immediately endorsed
the UW move, which called for the several hundred thousand students on
Pac-10 campuses to support the boycott of ARCO.

At least one ARCO board member has had enough, and called for the company
to withdraw from Burma.  Demonstrators on Monday will be pressing the
company to heed that call. 

Contact:  Free Burma Coalition, LA (310) 399-0703, pager (310) 588-3404, 
   or bfla@xxxxxxxxxxxxx