Greenpeace activists are over powered by a policeboat as they try to prevent the Dutch hired vessel NDS Progress from leaving her berth in Rotterdam harbour.
I am on board the Rainbow Warrior in Rotterdam harbour, we are
currently along side a cargo ship loaded with US war supplies
headed for the Gulf. We have been here since seven this morning and
already many activists have been arrested, but the Rainbow Warrior
is holding its position and we are blocking the ship from leaving
port and heading for war. Despite huge European opposition in
public and political circles, military equipment is flowing freely
through the continent on its way to the Gulf.
We traveled through the night, straight off an action in Antwerp
harbour where we tried to block a US military cargo ship from
loading with supplies for the war. When we arrived in Rotterdam
this morning the police had already surrounded the area. In fact,
as I was getting dressed in all my wooly clothes, I looked out the
port hole and could see a police van following us along the
We are determined to do everything we can to stop this
relentless march to war. Not only would it make the world a more
volatile and dangerous place, it'd also be illegal, disastrous and
As we arrived along side the cargo ship Progress that loaded war
supplies through the night to be ready for departure this morning,
the sun was just peaking over the horizon, a bright ball of red
flame to light our way and warm our activists.
The Rainbow Warrior was joined by three Greeenpeace inflatable
boats that can from further up the harbour, they immediately tried
to get activists in to position to climb up the stern of the
Progress, but the police inflatables were on top of them blocking
We also launched two inflatable canoes into the water from the
Rainbow Warrior. What I can only describe as chaos ensued. Our
inflatables continued to try to get climbers onto the cargo ship
while the canoes distracted the police. Eventually one of the
climbers got close enough to the stern of the ship and began to
climb, only seconds passed before the police picked up the climber
and arrested him.
The Dutch police and US military personel on the cargo ship and
key side turned high powered water cannon on the activists. Not
long after that the police picked up one of the canoes and arrested
the two Brits who were paddling. The other canoe returned to the
ship, there was a swift tidal current and it is bloody cold out
there with the wind. The police then began to round up our other
activists and inflatables in the water.
A police inflatable aggressively rammed one of our inflatable
boats, the police boarded it and two of the activists jumped into
the water. They were wearing survival suits that kept them dry and
warm and they were able to swim to shore where shortly we had
another inflatable pick them up and they are now safely back on
While all this was going on a police boat crossed the bow of the
Rainbow Warrior, only a few metres away, the Captain radioed the
police that they had just made a very dangerous move crossing so
close in front of the bow. The police boat then came along the
starboard side and rammed the Rainbow Warrior several times. I was
on the bridge when people started shouting they are going to board,
the police are getting ready to board. The doors to the bridge were
locked, all hatches and portholes secured.
I heard the anchor chain start to go down, but we couldn't get
it all the way down before the police boat started pushing the
Rainbow Warrior out of the way. The police asked permission to come
a board and it was denied. They told us if we went within the
yellow buoys closer to the cargo ship, the Rainbow Warrior would be
seized and everyone arrested.
Meanwhile we managed to get another three small inflatable boats
for the Rainbow Warrior in the water. They were all within the
yellow buoys and three inflatable police boats began to chase them,
but they have not been able to catch them yet.
We are currently holding our position and the police have not
yet come on board, but we expect them to come on board any
We have managed to block the cargo ship for four hours now, but
we can see more supplies for war arriving on the dock. Although
this is the first ship loaded with war supplies from the
Netherlands to the Gulf, it is not expected to be the last.
President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have cited Iraq's
suspected possession of weapons of mass destruction as a
justification for an invasion, yet the US and the UK have some of
the world's biggest arsenals of such weapons. They have made it
clear they will not refrain from using their weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq and would even consider using nuclear weapons
although the International Court of Justice has ruled that
threatening nuclear war is illegal.
We want the Dutch government to stop aligning itself with those
countries intent on war and to start listening to the views of its
people and to team up with other European countries that favour a
peaceful solution to the present crisis in the Middle East.
What you can do
the UN ambassadors that sit on the Security Council and ask them to
uphold international law and refuse to approve a war in
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and ask him to oppose war in Iraq and
to refuse to allow UK troops to be used in such a war.
If you live in the US, consider calling on your city council to
pass a resolution against a war with Iraq. Twenty cities across the
US have already passed similar resolutions and efforts are underway
in dozens more communities. For more information, visit, www.citiesforpeace.org.
Join our campaign against ExxonMobil/ Esso, the world's biggest
oil company. For more information, visit www.stopesso.org.
Get more ideas for getting involved from www.moveon.org, www.protest.net and www.targetoil.com.