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Seven Greenpeace Activists Arrested for Blocking Arctic-Bound Drilling Vessel

Only thing they tried to steal was "future of the Arctic from the desperate clutches of Shell and the oil giants"

Common Dreams staff

Lawless with a Greenpeace activist on Saturday during their protest on the oil ship (Photo: Nigel Marple/Greenpeace)

Seven Greenpeace activists were arrested and charged with 'burglary' in New Zealand early Monday, after occupying a Shell Oil drilling vessel for four straight days.  Among those arrested was Lucy Lawless, an actress well known for her portayal of the television hero 'Xena: Warrior Princess'.

In what Bunny McDiarmid, Executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand, called a "legal slight of hand by the police," the activists received a 'burglary' charge as opposed to the expected 'trespassing' charge even though they stole nothing from the ship.

"Though maybe we did," reflected McDiarmid in a blog post on Monday. "When I think about the actions of these seven and the 133,000 people globally who joined them, we have gone a long way towards stealing back the future of the Arctic from the desperate clutches of Shell and the oil giants."

The group boarded the ship early Friday morning and ascended to the top of a 170ft drilling tower on the vessel which was docked in Port Taranaki, New Zealand. One activist was arrested on Saturday, while the other six remained on the platform.

Sky News reports today:

The group began protesting on Friday to prevent the chartered ship from leaving on a drilling mission in the Arctic over the weekend.

Lawless, 43, a native New Zealander, told reporters on Friday she wanted to take a stand against damage to the environment.

"I've got three kids. My sole biological reason for being on this planet is to ensure that they can flourish, and they can't do that in a filthy, degraded environment," she said.

"We need to stand up while we still can."

In a series of tweets before her arrest Lawless described some of the challenges of staying on the tower.

"I found last night pretty darn scary," she wrote. "Not for sissies."

Greenpeace released this video on the action and their Save the Arctic campaign:


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