A GREENPEACE ACTIVIST swung from the Eiffel Tower today for two hours in a bid to get the French government to intervene in the plight of fellow activists jailed in Russia.
The man – bearing a banner with the legend, ‘Free the Arctic 30′ – managed to lower his platform over the side of the Parisian landmark and stage his protest before being coaxed down by emergency services.
Images: AP Photo/Christophe Ena
On Wednesday, Russia’s main investigative agency dropped charges of piracy against 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists and charged them instead with hooliganism, which could still mean years in prison. That charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years.
The activists, a Russian photographer and British videographer have been detained since 18 September when their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, was seized by the Russian coastguard. They had been protesting alongside an oil rig belonging to Russia’s Gazprom state energy giant.
Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia said the activists “are no more hooligans than they were pirates” and should be freed immediately.
“We will contest the trumped-up charge of hooliganism as strongly as we contested the piracy allegations. They are both fantasy charges that bear no relation to reality,” he said in a statement.
Chuprov also dismissed the committee’s warning that it may charge some of the activists with use of force against officials, pointing at Greenpeace’s 42-year history of peaceful protest:
They arrived at that oil rig in a ship painted with a dove and a rainbow. Those brave men and women went to the Arctic armed with nothing more than a desire to shine a light on a reckless business.
This is the latest Arctic 30 protest to grab public attention – earlier this month an activist abseiled from the roof of FC Basel’s stadium in Switzerland during a Champion’s League match and unfurled a banner that read ‘#FreeTheArctic30 Don’t Foul The Arctic’.
Russia switches Greenpeace activists’ charges from piracy to ‘hooliganism’>
Greenpeace protestor abseils from roof of FC Basel stadium>