UK government seizes Rainbow Warrior on anti-war protest

Press release - 1 February, 2003

20 police officers storm the Rainbow Warrior tonight even though the Secretary of State had failed to obtain a High Court junction excluding the Rainbow Warrior from the waters around the Southampton Military base.

Ministry of Defense officials tonight arrested the Greepeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior after a six-day anti-war protest in the UK. Up to twenty police boarded the vessel at just after 10:00pm local time. A further six Ministry of Defense and police boats, as well as a Royal Navy tugboat, are surrounding the Rainbow Warrior. Despite an interim high court ruling on Friday evening which denied a request by the Secretary of State for Defense to ban the Rainbow Warrior from the area, the Defense Department tonight directed the forced removal of the Greenpeace vessel from Southhampton docks until further notice.

"GP has acted completely peacefully during the course of this anti-war protest and is advised that the Secretary of State direction is unlawful and an abuse of power," said William Peden of Greenpeace. "We believe the government is acting beyond its jurisdiction by going against the due process of law. Not content to breach international law by pursuing an illegitimate war in Iraq, they are now disregarding their own domestic courts."

"We will continue to oppose this needless war that will cost thousands of lives and will not in succeed in removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction," said Peden.

Greenpeace successfully protested the departure of commandeered military supply vessels from the UK to the Gulf in the last six days. Greenpeace has campaigned for more than thirty years against weapons of mass destruction and believes the only truly secure way of removing the threat they pose is for all states that possess them--including the US and the UK--to disarm.