Solidarity activities to Free the Arctic 30 take place in 140 cities worldwide

Press release - October 6, 2013
Over a hundred people around the country today took part in the global day of solidarity demanding the release of 28 Greenpeace activists and 2 freelance journalists detained in Russia after they were detained aboard a Greenpeace ship in the Arctic.

Today's event in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban were just some of the planned protests that took place on every continent, in more than 140 cities across 47 countries, from New Zealand to Mexico, from Thailand to Finland and the United States. There are also protests planned across Russia, where there are already protests outside Gazprom's HQ every working day.

The protests were held in emblematic venues across the country:

· In Johannesburg, people come together at Constitutional Hill,

· In Cape Town, people gathered at the Nobel Square,

· In Durban, they met at the Moses Mabhida stadium.

In Senegal, fisherman who last year welcomed the Arctic Sunrise in its mission to preserve their fishing grounds took to their boats again in an act of solidarity.

"It is so important that our brave colleagues who are behind bars in Russia know that they are not alone. Today we show that millions of us are thinking of them, standing with them, and doing everything we can to secure their freedom." said Ruth Mhlanga Greenpeace Africa campaigner

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, 28 Greenpeace activists, a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer, were charged with piracy by a Russian court following a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling at a Gazprom oil platform in the Pechora Sea. If convicted, the offense carries a maximum 15 year jail term. The Murmansk Lenin District Courtordered that the 'Arctic 30' could be detained up until at least November 24th whilst allegations against them are investigated by the country's authorities. Lawyers acting to defend the thirty have appealed against their detention.

Since the illegal boarding of the Arctic Sunrise in international waters two weeks ago, nearly one million people have sent letters to Russian embassies demanding their immediate release. Greenpeace's international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, has described the events in Russia as the most serious assault on the group's environmental activism since the bombing of the organisation's flagship, Rainbow Warrior, in 1985.

Today Kumi Naidoo said:

"The activists were taking a brave stand to protect all of us from climate change, and the dangers of reckless oil drilling in the Arctic. Now it's imperative that millions of us stand up with them to defend the Arctic and demand their immediate release. Gazprom, Shell and the other oil companies rushing to carve up the Arctic and destroy its fragile environment must see that we are millions and we will not be bullied and intimidated into silence. We stand as one, in countries across the world, demanding the release of these thirty brave men and women."

Media Contacts

· Najia Bounaim (In Johannesburg) +27799304743

· Bakary Koulibaly (in Dakar, Senegal) +221773336265

Notes to Editor

Click here for photos.