FBI arrests peaceful Greenpeace anti-logging protesters

Protesters exposing shipment of illegal mahogany

Feature story - 13 April, 2002
Greenpeace activists exposing a shipment of illegal Brazilian mahogany in a Miami port were arrested along with a freelance photographer.

Greenpeace action at sawmill belonging to Maginco, Brazil's biggest mahogany trading company.

The activists were calling on President Bush to return all mahogany shipments from Brazil and to investigate companies that continue to buy it.

The Greenpeace activists escorted the shipment carrying illegal Brazilian mahogany in two inflatable boats, with banners reading "Stop Illegal Logging". Another boat carried a freelance photographer who was there to document the peaceful protest.

The FBI arrested the 14 Greenpeace protestors and a freelance photographer and they are now facing multiple felonies and will be formally arraigned on Monday.

This past week the Brazilian President called for continued support of Greenpeace and world governments to continue to help Brazil tackle the illegal timber trade in the Amazon.

President Cardoso said: "I shall continue to count on the backing of governments, prefects and civil society so that Brazil can learn to respect itself and so that the country gains the respect and support of other countries by preserving the noble species that are found in our forests, such as mahogany."

Mike Roselle, Greenpeace forest campaigner, said Greenpeace was shining a spotlight on an environmental crime in the peaceful manner the organization has used for 30 years. "For a peaceful protest to be called a felony compromises the spirit of civil disobedience on which this country was founded," said Roselle.

The US government has been holding Brazilian mahogany in a number of US ports for more than a month and has not indicated what they will do with the cargo.

There is still time to halt ancient forest destruction and save the plants, animals and livelihoods of people who depend on the forests.

Governments are meeting in the Hague this week and next for the Ancient Forest Summit. They will decide the fate of the world's remaining ancient forests.