Greenpeace activists were wounded Saturday in what appears to be the deliberate ramming of their boats by Spanish Navy vessels during a non-violent direct action against oil drilling in the Canary Islands.
The incident was captured on film by Greenpeace Spain (warning: contents may be disturbing):
The Greenpeace activists were staging a peaceful protest against the oil ship Rowan Renaissance, owned by the company Repsol, which has been given the greenlight by Spain to drill for oil in the Fuerteventura and Lanzarote islands, located off the coast of Morocco. Island residents and international environmental organizations have vigorously opposed the oil exploration.
Activists approached the Rowan Renaissance via small boats when they were repeatedly rammed by a Spanish Navy dinghy. Matilda Brunetti, a 23-year-old Italian, can be heard in the video screaming as her leg is broken and she is knocked into the water. Brunetti was transported via a navy helicopter to a hospital and is in "good condition," according to Greenpeace. At least one other protester was treated for cuts. Greenpeace said the incident is "another reminder of the lengths governments will go to protect the oil industry from peaceful protesters."
Meanwhile, Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship, which launched the smaller boats, held the drilling location before the drilling ship arrived. "It maintained the occupation, despite pressure from the authorities," says Greenpeace. The Arctic Sunrise remains "in the vicinity but outside the exclusion zone," the Guardian reported Monday.
This was the first protest launched by the Arctic Sunrise after it was held last year for over 300 days by Russia following a protest against drilling in the Arctic. Two people taking part in the Canary Islands protest were among the 30 activists and journalists detained by Russia.