Chattanoogans protest against BP - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATED: Chattanoogans protest against BP

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By Callie Starnes
Eyewitness News Reporter

HIXSON, HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - It's day 52 of the massive oil spill in the Gulf. As clean up efforts continue, group of Chattanoogans are paying close attention.

A group of about 20 protesters spent the day in front of a BP gas station on Hixson Pike.

They've met their fair share of support from drivers passing by, but others say holding a sign won't fix what's broken.

"BP our water's black, come and take your oil back," the protesters chant. 

It's a message some Chattanoogans hope BP hears loud and clear.

"We should have been here from day one. I'm glad we are here now," says protester Chris Brooks.

"Buy gum, not gas. Buy gum. Not gas," says protester Ethan Mogul.

"People should get up and protest and make their feelings known about what's going on the gulf," says protester Maxine Cousin.

"The grouper, these are the different type of snappers, or macrels, that are going to be tainted or killed, " says John Smith, fisherman and protester.

People are banding together to ask local store owners to choose another supplier.

"They can actually break their lease with BP and renegotiate with another company," says Brooks.

It's a plea that has gained support but also fuels anger.

"You boycott this business, boycott BP, people are going to loose jobs. To me, that is ridiculous," says Sam Gerhardt, a BP supporter.

Gerhardt chose to bypass the signs and fill up anyway. He says punishing local businesses isn't the answer.

"You know, support BP and talk to your congressmen, talk to your senators, talk to the politicians that have some influence over this," says Gerhardt.

These protestors say that may not be enough.

"Anytime you do a boycott of any kind it's going to hurt someone on the ground floor, that's just part of it. However, we have to think about proportions, and the fact that our planet is dying and we are going to have mass extinctions in the Gulf, I think that outweighs it," says Brooks.

A message they hope catches on, so their voices can be heard 500 miles from home.

A Chattanooga Police Officer has been on site most of the day keeping an eye on protesters.

Eyewitness News did reach out to The Pantry, the company that owns many BP gas stations in the area for comment, our calls were not returned.

 

UPDATE:
The owner of The Pantry store tells Eyewitness News, a boycott will hurt the local community. The convenience stores aren't owned by BP. They have a contract to sell BP gasoline.

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