For many of us, being an environmental advocate means making green shopping choices and signing petitions. For some people, it means risking life and limb to stop big polluters in their tracks.
Greenpeace is famous for staging large-scale protests, and the volunteer activists that rally under its banner have been arrested and roughed up by those who would rather not be called out for their crime. These arrests often happen under the radar, unnoticed by the mainstream media, but a recent incident in Russia is gaining international attention.
Twenty-eight Greenpeace activists and two accompanying journalists are being unlawfully detained in Russia following a peaceful protest at an arctic oil drilling rig.
“Following a peaceful protest at an oil platform which resulted in two arrests, the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise was illegally boarded by the Russian Coast Guard. Captain Peter Willcox and others have been sentenced to two months in custody pending a piracy investigation,” explains Greenpeace.
According to the NY Times, the group includes people from 18 countries, including Britain, the Netherlands and the United States.
Although no charges have been made against the group, they’re still being held in jail cells in the nearby city of Murmansk. Greenpeace has condemned the Russian authorities for this act, and even President Vladimir Putin has said the Greenpeace activists are clearly not pirates, though they may have broken international law.
From the BBC:
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement that the detentions were “like the Russian oil industry itself, a relic from an earlier era.”
“Our peaceful activists are in prison tonight for shining a light on Gazprom’s recklessness,” he said late on Thursday.
Throughout Greenpeace’s long history of environmental activism, there are countless examples of violence being used against activists in an attempt to intimidate. The oil industry is destroying fragile Arctic ecosystems without any thought for how they would clean up a spill if it were to occur.
Russia’s actions are yet another example of true ecological terrorists trying to depict conservationists as criminals.
Greenpeace is asking the public to help by sending letters to the Russian Embassy asking for the immediate release of the 30 activists.
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