Local activists gathered in front of Shell petrol stations in Lewisham and Deptford yesterday, as part of an international day of action organised by Greenpeace.
Greenpeace members were speaking out against the decision by Russian authorities to apply for the Arctic 30’s detention to be extended by another 3 months.
The Arctic 30, a group of 28 activists and two freelance journalists who were jailed two months ago because of their protests against oil drilling in the Arctic, are now being charged with “piracy” and “hooliganism” by the Russian authorities. The charges can carry sentences for up to 15 years. Initially, Russian authorities had planned to hold the Arctic 30 for two months, with a release scheduled for next week but this has now been extended.
Camilla Barens, Greenpeace area coordinator for Greenwich and Lewisham, said: “It’s important we keep the pressure on, and show that they are prisoners of conscience fighting for the future of the planet. The Russian government has failed its social and environmental responsibilities. Who are the real pirates, Greenpeace or Gazprom and Shell?”
The group of activists travelled from the Shell Petrol station in Lewisham High Street to the branch in Evelyn Street, to then progress into Greenwich via Stanstead Road.
Barens said: “There was a good response, a lot of people in their cars honking in support and passers-by taking leaflets. They all knew about the situation already, so it was really encouraging.”
Greenpeace planned action across London and it is believed that at least 70 different protests took place in the UK alone. Protests took place in 263 cities across 72 countries worldwide.
Barens added: “This is an important time for Greenpeace to urge people to put climate change at the top of political agenda again.”
In addition to this, Greenpeace has also launched a petition for the Russian Embassy asking for the release of the imprisoned activists.
More local action is planned next week, when local groups will meet at the Shell petrol station in Clapham South.