Greenpeace Sets Up Peace Camp In British Tanks

Greenpeace volunteers entered Southampton's Marchwood Military Port in the UK letting off coloured flares and setting up a peace camp in the military tanks destined for the Gulf.

Greenpeace peacefully occupied British military vehicles today as part of an ongoing global campaign against war in Iraq. In the latest action to stop a U.K. military attack, fourteen Greenpeace activists entered Southampton's Marchwood Military Port and occupied tanks and jeeps queued up to leave on the roll-on/roll-off ferry Stena Shipper en route to Iraq.

Four of the protestors climbed into tanks and secured the hatches behind them. All of these activists were arrested, including Ashby Smith a Ft. Collins, Colorado native who works for the Greenpeace campaigner program in Washington, D.C.

Speaking today at an anti-war press conference in Washington, D.C., John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace in the United States, said, "Greenpeace is opposed to all war. We believe that the best path toward security and peace is to reduce our dependence on oil and promote the development and use of clean energy." The press conference was sponsored by a coalition of U.S. groups opposed to war in Iraq. These groups believe that the war on Iraq is motivated in part by the U.S.' dependence on Middle East oil.

Greenpeace has taken action in Great Britain because Prime Minister Tony Blair has been the Bush Administration's closest and most important ally in its threatened war on Iraq, despite the fact that the majority of Britons oppose a war.

For over a week, Greenpeace has been trying to stop the build up of the U.K. military machine. On Monday, January 27, Greenpeace's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, blockaded the Southampton port to prevent military supply ships from leaving. Two days later, Greenpeace activists boarded the MV Lyra as she lay anchored in the Solent with a cargo of military vehicles. Both protests ended in the face of extreme weather conditions. On Saturday, February 2, the Rainbow Warrior resumed its peace blockade of the military docks until the ship was stormed by police who cut her anchor chain and used powerful tugs to force the ship away from the area.

This latest peaceful protest by Greenpeace is part of a global campaign to prevent a military attack on Iraq that could kill thousands of people, devastate the environment, and increase the chances of weapons of mass destruction being used. Since its inception, Greenpeace has actively worked to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and promote non-violent solutions to problems.

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