Help us free our Activists
"Nine times out of 10 people who protest peacefully, whether it is through music or through trying to scale oil rigs, are doing it because they believe they are saying something that will ultimately benefit society as a whole”. Damon Albarn.
Over 4000 of you at Glastonbury festival signed our petition to help Save the Arctic. Thank you for that. Now we urgently need your help.
On Thursday 19 September 2013, 28 of our activists and a freelance photographer and videographer were on board the Arctic Sunrise carrying out a peaceful protest against energy giant Gazprom, which is poised to drill for the first oil to come out of the icy waters of the Arctic.
Using a helicopter and ropes, armed Coast Guards illegally boarded the ship and held those on board under armed guard whilst they towed the ship to shore. Our team were then remanded for up to two months by a court in Murmansk.
The authorities say they need time to investigate charges of piracy - even though President Putin has said that he did not believe they were pirates.
The Arctic 30 were then charged with piracy by the Russian state prosecutor. They stood up to protect the Arctic, and they faced the possibility of spending years in prison on an absurd and outrageous charge.
On 23rd of October this year the Russian authorities offered the Arctic 30 — currently being held in a freezing jail in Murmansk — what looked like a legal olive branch by dropping piracy charges and replacing them with one of "hooliganism."
On the face of it, and compared to piracy, hooliganism sounds innocuous enough, more like a crime of youthful over-exuberance, akin to graffiti or streaking at a football match.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Russia has simply dropped one serious charge and replaced it with another that still carries the very real prospect of the Arctic 30 languishing in jail for up to seven years.
These protesters put their freedom on the line to protect the fragile Arctic which is under threat from both climate change and oil drilling. As climate change melts the Arctic ice, oil companies are moving in to extract more of the fossil fuels that caused the melt in the first place. But above the Arctic circle, freezing temperatures, a narrow drilling window and a remote location mean that an oil spill would be almost impossible to deal with. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. Greenpeace is working to halt climate change and to stop this rush for oil at the top of the world.
Please send an urgent email to the Russian Ambassador in London and demand the immediate release of these peaceful protestors by using the link www.greenpeace.org/freeouractivists.