Thousands of people took part in an emergency day of solidarity protests 5, October 2013, around the world to demand the release of 30 people imprisoned in Russia after they were detained aboard a Greenpeace ship in the Arctic. Peaceful events were held on every continent, in more than 135 locations across 45 countries, from New Zealand to Mexico, from Thailand to Finland and the United States. There are also protests planned across Russia.
Earlier, 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 2013 whilst allegations against them are investigated by the country’s authorities. Lawyers acting to defend the thirty have appealed against their detention.
Since the seizure of the Arctic Sunrise ship in international waters two weeks ago, one million people have sent letters to Russian embassies demanding their immediate release. Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, has described the events in Russia as the most serious assault on the group’s environmental activism since the bombing of the organisation’s flagship, Rainbow Warrior, in 1985.