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Protests in 263 Cities Around the World as 'Arctic 30' Mark 2 Months in Prison

Focus on the role of Gazprom and its Arctic oil business partner, Shell

- Common Dreams staff

Environmental activists hold pictures of Greenpeace ship crew members imprisoned in Russia during a march demanding more climate saving actions during the United Nations Climate Change COP19 conference on November 16, 2013 (AFP/Wojtek Radwanski)

Protests are being held in 263 cities around the world Saturday to mark two months since Greenpeace's 'Arctic 30' were jailed in Russia for demonstrating against Arctic drilling.

In a case that has sparked an international outcry, the crew-members of Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship were detained on September 18 after several of them scaled an oil platform run by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

Many of today’s demonstrations will focus on the role of Gazprom and its Arctic oil business partner, Shell. It was the demands from Gazprom for the Russian authorities to intervene during the protest that ultimately led to the detention of the 30.

The international day of protests will include:

  • In Germany, massive lantern marches to Russian consulates in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Bonn and Leipzig
  • In India, 30 hours of protest across 30 cities
  • In the UK, activists protesting outside more than 70 Shell fueling stations
  • In Argentina, the US, Poland and Taiwan - solidarity music concerts
  • In Johannesburg, 150 drummers joining a protest march

Greenpeace International campaigner Barbara Stoll explained:

“The Arctic 30 were arrested and imprisoned after Gazprom asked the authorities to intervene during our peaceful protest. Now the 30 remain behind bars and Gazprom could play a key role in securing their release so they can go home to their families. If Gazprom wanted the Arctic 30 to be free, it could wield significant influence by calling for their release.”

She added:

“To break open the Russian Arctic, Gazprom needs its business partners at Shell. That puts Shell in a hugely powerful position to influence Gazprom. If Shell wanted to stand up for freedom of expression and to see the Arctic 30 released, the company could push its friends at Gazprom to make the call. But by staying silent, it’s hard not to conclude that Shell is putting its Arctic oil deal ahead of the release of these prisoners of conscience.”

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French actress Marion Cotillard (C) poses as she stands in a cage with Greenpeace activists on November 15, 2013 in Paris (AFP/Fred Dufour)

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Greenpeace's supporters light candles to read 'Free the Arctic 30' against the detainment of Greenpeace activists by Russia in front of the St Stephan Basilic of Budapest on November 16, 2013 (AFP/Attila Kisbenedek)

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Greenpeace's supporters hold a candlelight vigil to protest against the detainment of Greenpeace activists held in Russia, in Hamburg on November 16, 2013 (AFP/Axel Heimken)

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A Greenpeace activist holds a sign that reads "Free Marco" as she stands inside a mock prison cell, in support of Swiss Greenpeace activist Marco Weber, who was detained with others on the boat Arctic Sunrise, during a demonstration in Zurich November 16, 2013. A group, consisting of 28 activists and two journalists, were arrested after coastguards boarded the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise following a protest at an oil platform owned by state-controlled Gazprom off Russia's northern coast on September 18. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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