Emergency solidarity protests worldwide to free journalists and Greenpeace activists held in Russian prison

Press release - October 5, 2013
Amsterdam, 5 October 2013 – Thousands of people are today taking part in an emergency day of solidarity protests around the world to demand the release of 30 people imprisoned in Russia after they were detained aboard a Greenpeace ship in the Arctic. Peaceful events are planned on every continent, in more than 135 locations across 45 countries, from New Zealand to Mexico, from Thailand to Finland and the United States. There are also protests planned across Russia.

Protests worldwide will include: 

•    Solidarity actions will be held in the Russian cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Murmansk and Omsk. In Moscow, the day started with a series of pickets in front of the Kremlin, the FSB main office, the Bolshoi theatre and other symbolic buildings in Russia. There will be a peaceful protest in Gorky Park with the friends and relatives of the detained activists joining.

•    Hundreds will gather at the main harbor in Hong Kong to form a human banner that will read ‘Free the Arctic 30.’ 

•    In South Africa, people will come together at former Apartheid detention centres. 

•    In Toronto, large audio and visual displays will light up at an all-night event.

•    In Madrid, supporters will gather in Puerto Del Sol with a replica of the Arctic Sunrise ship. 

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

This week, 28 Greenpeace activists, and a freelance photographer and a 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 offence carries a maximum 15 year jail term. The Murmansk Lenin District Court ordered that the ‘Arctic 30’ could be detained up until at least November 24th 2013 whilst allegations against them are investigated by the country’s authorities. Lawyers acting to defend the thirty have appealed against their detention.

Since the seizure of the Arctic Sunrise ship in international waters two weeks ago, one million people have sent letters to Russian embassies demanding their immediate release. Greenpeace 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.” 

ENDS

Contact:

Greenpeace International press desk: +31 20 718 24 70 or

Greenpeace International picture desk: +31 20 718 24 71

Greenpeace International video desk: +31 20 718 24 72