Amsterdam, 16 November 2013 - Thousands of people are today taking part in peaceful protests in 263 cities in 43 countries to express their solidarity with the 30 people who were detained on a Greenpeace International ship by armed Russian security forces and imprisoned.
Next week will mark two months since the 30 were detained following a peaceful protest against Arctic drilling at a Gazprom oil platform in the Pechora Sea on September 18. On Friday, Russia’s Investigative Committee announced that it will apply for a three-month extension to the detention of the Arctic 30. They will make the applications in front of a judge at hearings next week.
Many of today’s demonstrations will focus on the role of Russian energy giant Gazprom and its Arctic oil business partner, Shell. It was the demands from Gazprom for the Russian authorities to intervene during the protest that ultimately led to the detention of the 30.
The international day of protests will include:
* In Germany, massive lantern marches to Russian consulates in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Bonn and Leipzig
* In India, 30 hours of protest across 30 cities
* In the UK, activists protesting outside more than 70 Shell fuelling stations
* In Argentina, the US, Poland and Taiwan - solidarity music concerts
* In Johannesburg, 150 drummers joining a protest march
Greenpeace International campaigner Barbara Stoll explained:
“The Arctic 30 were arrested and imprisoned after Gazprom asked the authorities to intervene during our peaceful protest. Now the 30 remain behind bars and Gazprom could play a key role in securing their release so they can go home to their families. If Gazprom wanted the Arctic 30 to be free, it could wield significant influence by calling for their release.”
“To break open the Russian Arctic, Gazprom needs its business partners at Shell. That puts Shell in a hugely powerful position to influence Gazprom. If Shell wanted to stand up for freedom of expression and to see the Arctic 30 released, the company could push its friends at Gazprom to make the call. But by staying silent, it’s hard not to conclude that Shell is putting its Arctic oil deal ahead of the release of these prisoners of conscience.”
This week Madonna joined the campaign to free the Arctic 30 with a posting to her fans on Facebook, and the Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard spent time in a mock cage in Place du Palais Royal in Paris to show her support for the detainees. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney also revealed he had written personally to President Putin to seek the release of the Arctic 30.
Greenpeace’s international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, has written to the head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, asking that he use his company’s influence in Russia to help secure freedom for the Arctic 30.
Naidoo wrote: “If your company has any serious commitment to respecting rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest, you would now use your great influence in Russia to seek their freedom. I urge you to do so at the earliest opportunity.”
A map showing the global activities:
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