As the Arctic 30 faced their 30th day of imprisonment on October 18 by Russian authorities, nearly 10,000 people took to the streets at more than 100 events in 36 countries to call for their immediate release. Greenpeace India activists staged a human installation in Freedom Park, formerly the Central Jail in Bangalore to support the Arctic 30. Ten activists locked themselves in a cage that resembles the prison in Murmansk, Russia where the Arctic 30 are currently imprisoned. Celebrities like actress Vani Ganapathy attended the event.
‘We cannot just sit and watch the ice as it melts at a steady pace in the Arctic. The Arctic 30 have been brave in their efforts to save the Arctic and we must give them as much support as we can to save the planet from major climatic changes and environmental damage,’ said Vani Ganapathy.
Meanwhile in Murmansk, the grounds of the Greenpeace office was broken into the day before the protests. A mock cage, which was going to be used to highlight the injustice of the Arctic 30’s imprisonment during a solidarity protest in the city, was stolen. CCTV footage, released by Greenpeace International, shows six men in masks scaling a fence and entering the grounds of the building which houses the Greenpeace office.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said: “It is now 30 days since our ship was seized and our 30 friends and colleagues were arrested. They now face a charge of piracy – an absurd charge that carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence. The Arctic 30 were standing up for all of us, defending a fragile environment and a climate in crisis, and now we must stand with them. Their detention is an attack against every single person who has ever been willing to raise their voice to demand a better future for themselves and their children. Now these 30 people are prisoners of conscience and we are all responsible for their fate.”
Last month, 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 whilst allegations against them are investigated by the country’s authorities. The bail appeals for 10 activists have been rejected in the last few days and Lawyers acting to defend the 30 have appealed against their detention.
The non-executive Chairman of Shell told media in Finland that the Finnish activist imprisoned in Russia, Sini Saarela, should be released. This is significant because Shell has a close business relationship with Gazprom in the Russian Arctic. Greenpeace’s Jim Footner said: “This message should be coming from Shell’s CEO Peter Voser. He should break his company’s ties with Gazprom and do everything he can to ensure the Arctic 30 are freed.”
To help free the Arctic 30 and support Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign visit, http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/What-We-Do/Stop-Climate-Change/arctic-impacts/free-our-activists/