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SavetheArctic: Greenpeace Activists Occupy Arctic Oil Drilling Platform

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Politics and Democracy page.

A team of six Greenpeace activists has ended a 15-hour occupation on Friday of the Russian oil drilling platform Prirazlomnaya in the Arctic to protest the risky plans for drilling in the pristine ecosystem and to call attention to the "defining environmental struggle of our time."

The activists boarded the rig, owned by Gazprom, in the Pechora Sea at 4 AM local time after leaving Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise on speedboats. They scaled the platform and said they successfully interupted operations. Gazprom tried to stop the activists by hosing them with water and later throwing metal at them.  After 15 hours, the activists voluntarily left for their own safety.

The activists included Greenpeace's International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, who tweeted during the action, "Melting Arctic ice is a warning, not a business opportunity." Speaking during the action to Democracy Now! on Friday, Naidoo said, "We want to draw global attention to what is the defining environmental struggle of our time, and time is running out for us to avert catastrophic climate change. And that's why we are here."

Naidoo also made a statement from the platform during the occupation:

"We climbed Gazprom's rusting oil platform backed by over a million people who have joined a new movement to protect the Arctic. We are here on their behalf. We are also standing shoulder to shoulder with the Russian Indigenous Peoples, who just last week signed a joint statement opposing offshore oil drilling in this area, which is near their traditional territory."

"Like Shell's reckless plans to drill in Alaska, it's not a question of if an oil spill will happen, but when. The only way to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from happening in this unique environment is to permanently ban all drilling now.


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