145 Hong Kong people form ‘Free the Arctic 30’ slogan at Harbour Side

Greenpeace demand Russia immediately release the activists

Press release - 2013-10-05
Hong Kong – 145 citizens of Hong Kong came out today in solidarity with 28 crew members and two freelancers, a photographer and videographer, of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, who have been charged with piracy by the Russian state prosecutor. The ship was illegally seized by the Russian Coast Guard during an action against Arctic oil drilling. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. Greenpeace said that piracy charges are unjustified, and is an extreme and disproportionate charge.

Peaceful events were planned around the world in well over 80 cities in 50 countries, from New Zealand to Mexico, from Thailand to Finland today to support the Arctic 30.

In Hong Kong, the 145 citizens gathered at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront and formed a human banner saying ‘Save Arctic 30’. Greenpeace Campaign Manager, Fanny Lee, said, “Oil drilling in the Arctic is extremely dangerous, and will cause irreversible damage once there is an oil spill. A charge of piracy is being laid against people who love the environment, which is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest. Any claim that these activists are pirates are as absurd as it is abominable.”

In Russia, 28 Greenpeace activists, as well as two freelancers, a photographer and videographer, were taken to the Lenin district court in Murmansk in handcuffs, where they were placed in a cage and provided inadequate translators. They are all now being charged with piracy under Article 227 of the Russian Criminal Code. The maximum sentence, if convicted, is 15 years in a Russian jail.

The 30 have already been held by the Russian authorities for nearly 20 days since the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was illegally boarded in international waters on Thursday, September 19.

On September 18, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise took peaceful action at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform to stop it from producing the world’s first oil from icy Arctic waters. The activists approached the Gazprom Prirazlomnaya oil platform, in the Pechora Sea off the Russian coast, to engage in a peaceful protest of Arctic oil drilling. However, the Russian Coast Guard reacted strongly: after firing warning shots and detaining two activists under armed guard, they then seized the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and have towed it to the port of Murmansk. Greenpeace Russia has contacted both Gazprom and Russian authorities multiple times in the past to explain the organisation’s peaceful opposition to dangerous Arctic drilling.

Over 800,000 people have written to Russian embassies around the world, others calling for the release of the Arctic 30 include Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the actor Ewan McGregor.

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Media Contact
 
Fanny Lee, Campaign Manager
Tel: 2854 8357 Email:
 
Josephine Ng, Senior Communications Officer
Tel: 2854 8332 Email:
 
Greenpeace International press desk
 Tel: +31 (0)20 718 24 70  Email: 

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