Not Pirates or Hooligans: Arctic 30 Moved To St. Petersburg
Even as Dutch officials seek their release, the Greenpeace Arctic 30 now in their second month in a Russian prison have reportedly been transferred from Murmansk to St. Petersburg. The transfer by prisoner train comes amidst growing international pressure to free the activists and stunning, newly released video of their September arrest at gunpoint aboard a Russian Arctic drilling platform. Since then, the 28 international activists and two journalists have seen their charges dropped from "piracy" - up to 15 years - to "hooliganism" - a "mere" seven years - a charge that Phil Ball, in a letter and drawings just published in The Guardian, calls "a joke, but a very unfunny one." Noting that hooliganism is defined as an act in "contempt of society," Ball argues that it is "greedy mega-rich oil companies" that should be charged with acting "in contempt of the societies of our children and grandchildren." The video, in which the peaceful protesters raise their arms before armed, masked Russian security agents descending on them, offers compelling back-up to his argument.
"The Greenpeace International crew are clearly displaying non-resistance. They are doing their utmost to signal their peaceful intention... They are not the actions of hooligans or pirates, as the authorities allege." - Vladimir Chuprov, Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace Russia.