Let’s help free the Arctic 30 from the charges against them.
Who are the Arctic 30?
On the 18th of September, thirty Greenpeace activists headed towards an oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya, to climb onto the outside of the rig to peacefully protest against imminent drilling. This action had been part of a peaceful protest against energy giant Gazprom, the company that owns the Prirazlomnaya, and which is poised to drill for the first oil to come out of Arctic waters having just signed a massive deal with oil multinational Shell.
On seeing the activists in inflatable boats, the nearby Russian Coast Guard ship responded by launching inflatables manned with agents masked in balaclavas. They proceeded to ram and slash the Greenpeace boats, threaten those on board at gun and knife point and fire warning shots from automatic weapons.
On the 20th of September, the Russian Coast Guard illegally boarded the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise while in international waters and arrested 30 activists on board at gunpoint.
What happened to them?
Twenty-eight Greenpeace activists, a photographer and a videographer appeared at a preliminary court hearing in Murmansk on the 26th of September. Most of them were remanded for two months without bail to await trial on possible piracy charges. Greenpeace lawyers have said that they will file a case with the European Court of Human Rights over the conditions faced by the activists in detainment.
Russian president Valdimar Putin has since said that he does not believe the team are pirates. Under Russian law, piracy requires an intention to seize a vessel, its crew or goods, and carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
What happened next?
These 28 activists and two freelance journalists have finally been freed from prison and reunited with friends and family, but they still stand accused of a crime they did not commit. They took peaceful action on behalf of us all, standing up against destructive Arctic oil drilling and the onslaught of climate change. Charging them with hooliganism is both an insult and an outrage and so no one will truly be celebrating until they’ve been allowed to return home and the charges against them have been dropped.
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How can we help?
You can help by lending your voice to the cause. Together let’s show we are stronger than those who want to destroy the Arctic, and will not be intimidated into silence.
If you’d like to send a message of support to any of the Arctic 30, you can do so here.