Here’s What You Can Do to Help Greenpeace’s Arctic 30

This week, the 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists who were unlawfully detained in Russia following a peaceful protest at an arctic oil drilling rig were officially charged with piracy. They each face prison sentences of up to 15 years in Russia.

The activists, now known as the “Arctic 30,” need your help. To show your support, you can join Greenpeace and concerned citizens around the world in a global day of solidarity on Saturday, October 5. You can also send a letter to the Russian Embassy demanding their release.

The activists face charges after heading to the Barents Sea on September 19 to protest energy giant Gazprom. The energy company had plans to start oil production in an area with three nature reserves that are supposedly protected by Russia and to continue with oil exploration in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell in the future.

Following the protest, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was illegally boarded by the Russian Coast Guard, which took control of the ship and crew. The activists and freelance journalists, all from around the world, were sentenced to a two-month pre-trial detention in Murmansk pending a piracy investigation.

Now, they have been charged with piracy. Appeals against the refusal for bail have been filed, but no one is sure when the cases will be heard.

Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement:

There is absolutely no justification for any charge of piracy, or the decision to deny bail. Our peaceful activists and the two freelancers are being locked away for bringing international scrutiny to Gazprom’s risky Arctic drilling programme. This is a naked attempt to intimidate anyone who opposes the Arctic oil rush and it will not stand.

The captain of the Arctic Sunrise, Peter Wilcox, is a U.S. citizen, but the ship sails under a Dutch flag. Now the Dutch government is intervening in an effort to get both the ship and the activists released.

Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans told the BBC that the Netherlands had applied to the UN’s Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which resolves maritime disputes between states. He also said he didn’t understand how there could be legal grounds for this to be considered an act of piracy. President Vladimir Putin also stated that the activists “clearly” were not pirates.

Even more disturbing here is the fact that former Times of London journalist Kieron Bryan and former Reuters and AFP photographer Denis Sinyakov, who is based in Moscow, have had their equipment and passports seized, in addition to being detained and charged with piracy, despite only being there to do their jobs and document what happened.

Media outlets are protesting and blacking out photos in a show of solidarity, while Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council condemned the move and called the arrests and piracy charges “a direct violation of Russia’s law on mass media, which protects the rights of journalists, including freelancers, when they work in their professional capacity.”

The potential for a disastrous spill in the Arctic and allowing for drilling there should have the whole world concerned, especially considering Arctic sea ice is continuing to disappear. However, you don’t even need to necessarily care about the consequences of drilling to appreciate the gravity of the continued persecution of activists who take part in peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience, while corporations are protected by governments and law enforcement agencies who act more like private security companies than agencies that are designed to protect the public and keep the peace.

Naidoo raises the question of where we would be today on so many issues and injustices humanity has faced ranging from slavery and women’s rights to apartheid if people hadn’t risked their lives and freedom to say enough is enough. If we lose our right to object and protest, to spread information, stay informed and keep the free market of ideas going, the real terrorists will have won.

Show your support for Greenpeace and the Artic 30 by joining the global day of action on Saturday, October 5. You can find your nearest event here.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Carolyn King
Carolyn K4 years ago

Don S. - I didn't say the article mentioned that they were in international waters; you said they were in Russian waters. ;-) If you listen to news or read newspapers, you would have known that was wrong. Part of the Netherlands' objection is that their ship was in international waters.
I don't know about you, but I get my news from many sources. I never make comments on the strength of one journalist's information. They make too many errors.
You were very free with gratuitous insults, even before you reread the article to see if you might have been wrong. I found that quite hilarious!

Don Swanz
Don Swanz4 years ago

SHAWN P, CAROLYN K & LAURIE A: OK, I give up. In what paragraph and line do the words "INTERNATIONAL WATERS" exist in the Post?

I will say at this time; after doing additional research, that "I was wrong in my original post" stating that they were in Russia Territory and/or in Russian waters.

Now, Please provide me with the answer to my question. Don and I CAN! :-))

Shawn P.
Shawn P4 years ago

Don S. and Kyle N. must have not read the whole article, probably skimmed it and came to their faulty and nasty conclusions. Before they display their ignorance in the comments again, hopefully they will take the time to actually read the article.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla4 years ago

Russia... Shame!!! These people are only trying to save this planet!!

Don Swanz
Don Swanz4 years ago

CAROLYN K & LAURIE A: The both of you must be related, have attend the same backwoods schools, have the same low IQ and make your parents very, very proud of your ignorance, arrogance. and stupidity. After reading and re-reading the Post several times, no where - repeat no where - was the "KEY" word INTERNATIONAL WATERS" found; which of course would make a world of difference in my Post and view point. Don and I CAN! :-))

Mary L.
Mary L4 years ago

The Russians are going back to the old Soviet way of life. They can't have foreigners poking their nose in, they lose face.

They are the worst combination of plutocrat and totalitarian oppression this side of America.

Karen C.
Karen Chestney4 years ago

Thanks for this. I'm hoping these people will be OK.

Laurie Armer
Laurie Armer4 years ago

@Don S. and Kyle N. - didn't you learn to read?? Absolutely correct Carolyn K. International waters is the KEY word Don and Kyle! People like you should close your mouths until you have verified your information! You have 2 ears, 2 eyes, and 1 mouth. Didn't you ever learn that that means you should watch and listen twice as much as you use your mouth!! many morons out wonder it takes the intelligent, compassionate and empathetic part of society to steer and guide the ignorant and mouthy sector!!

Heather M
Heather Marv4 years ago

Freedom from oppression.