It’s a tense and dramatic moment on the high seas of the Russian Arctic.
Yesterday, a helicopter descended suddenly on the Greenpeace International ship Arctic Sunrise, while it was protesting against Gazprom’s plans to drill for oil in these pristine and remote waters. Armed officials of the Russian Coast Guard stormed the ship, holding the crew on their knees at gunpoint.
This illegal seizure of our ship and crew comes after two of our activists were arrested early yesterday morning for taking part in a peaceful protest on the Prirazlomnaya Arctic oil platform to stop Shell’s new partner, Gazprom from becoming the first company to produce oil from the icy waters of the region. They were held overnight against their will by the Russian authorities with no charges or legal representation. They are now with the rest of the crew on-board the Arctic Sunrise.
Right now, all around the world, supporters are flooding the streets outside the Russian embassies in their countries, to demand the release of the people who put their bodies on the line to protect the Arctic from oil destruction. The Arctic Sunrise crew are in the Arctic on behalf of our movement of nearly 4 million, and we cannot allow them to be threatened for standing up for their beliefs.
The Russian authorities have called us “terrorists,” but it’s clear the real threat to the fragile Arctic comes from the reckless oil companies that are determined to profit from Arctic oil — no matter what the cost. Together we must show we are stronger than those who want to destroy the melting home of the polar bears, and we will not be intimidated into silence.