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Demonstrators Protest At Exxon Meeting, Peacefully With PM-Exxon, Bjt

May 19, 1989

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) _ Exxon Corp.’s annual meeting is over, but demonstrators vowed to keep the pressure on the oil giant they claim has dodged responsibility for the Alaskan oil spill.

″Don’t throw away your signs,″ said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, the director of New Jersey Citizen Action, who helped organize Thursday’s protest outside of hall where the company’s annual meeting was held.

″This is only the beginning,″ she told about 250 demonstrators. About 80 police officers kept protesters in a parking lot at the Aspen Manor Hotel as shareholders streamed into the hotel’s lobby.

Protesters acted peacefully but spoke angrily about the March 24 spill of 10.9 million gallons of crude oil from the Exxon Valdez into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

″Our environment is going to hell in a bucket,″ said Rae McLaughlin, a 30-year-old office manager from New Jersey Citizen Action, one of the environmental groups sponsoring the protest. ″They’re not even attempting to clean it up.″

Five demonstrators perched on stilts wore pig tails and pig noses to complement their overstuffed tuxedos and briefcases with Exxon stickers and bulging with fake money. Another man was dressed in an Exxon service station outfit and had blackened his face with oil.

Cyndi De La Cruz pointed to her two children - 5-year-old Sarah and 3-year- old Kristen - and said she brought them because they will eventually inherit the environment left by her generation.

Others hoped the disaster would spur Congress to pass legislation halting oil exploration in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge.

″It’s just ridiculous the negligence that Exxon has shown,″ said Joanna Wills, a 17-year-old senior at Morris Knolls High School in Denville. ″They really need to tighten up what goes on up there in Alaska to prevent future spills.″

Township Mayor Frank Priore, a spectator at the demonstration, said his sympathies lay with the protesters and that he would ask Exxon to pay the police overtime costs, which he estimated between $12,000 and $18,000.

Shareholders who passed the group said they shared protesters’ environmental concerns, but doubted their effectiveness.

″They showed us a film in there that was ridiculous. I expected to see otters clapping,″ said Claire Brown, a 65-year-old freelance writer from Morristown.

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