'Gonzo' filmmakers hit London for Bhopal protest

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2009 at 1:11 PM EDT

Two maverick filmmakers will hand out toxic bottled water from Bhopal, the site of a major industrial disaster in India, in London Monday to highlight the plight of locals and promote their new movie.

The Yes Men, whose new film "The Yes Men Fix The World" premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival in the United States, will also take some of the water to the headquarters of Dow Chemicals.

The incident took place in 1984 when a storage tank at a pesticide plant run by Union Carbide -- bought by Dow Chemicals in 1999 -- leaked cyanide gas into the air in Bhopal, immediately killing more than 3,500 slum dwellers.

The US Congress has estimated that another 15,000 people have died since.

Mike Bonanno, one of The Yes Men, told AFP that they wanted to get the message across that "the mess has still not been cleaned up".

He described the film as being like "Michael Moore crossed with Borat" adding that The Yes Men are "a couple of gonzo journalists who take on corporations on their own terms. It's a comedy, but it's serious."

Dow spokesman Scot Wheeler said by email that the firm had "deep sympathy" for Bhopal victims but that protests against it were "wholly misdirected and are inappropriate".

"Union Carbide Corporation and Union Carbide India Limited settled their liability for the gas release tragedy with the government of India in 1989 and paid 470 million dollars to the government of India," he said, adding that the plant was now owned by the state government of Madhya Pradesh.




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