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2013-11-18

2 Months After Russia’s Jailing of Arctic 30, Greenpeace Urges Their Release at Warsaw Summit

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The "Arctic 30" are back in court today in Russia where they have been held for two months after being detained in a direct action against Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil rig. State prosecutors have asked Russian judges to extend the detention of the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists by three more months, saying they could flee the country if they were released on bail. As hundreds of cities took part in a global day action for the Arctic 30 on Saturday, Greenpeace activists spoke out for their colleagues during a large climate justice rally in Warsaw, Poland — outside the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn right now to an issue that has been gaining global attention, the Arctic 30. Well, they were back in court today in Russia, where they’ve been held for nearly two months. State prosecutors asked Russian courts to extend the detention of the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists by three more months, saying they could flee the country if they were released on bail. This is the story of these 30 people who were detained during a direct action against Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil rig in September.

At Saturday’s climate justice march here in Warsaw, Greenpeace activists held posters with large photographs of the Arctic 30. In a moment, you’ll hear from two members of Greenpeace who spoke at the rally Saturday, but first let’s turn to Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke interviewing Martin Kaiser, the head of the Greenpeace delegation here in Warsaw.

MARTIN KAISER: My name is Martin Kaiser with Greenpeace. The Arctic 30 are climate defenders who have shown courage and peaceful protest against new oil drilling in the Arctic in the Russian waters. They are now in the pretrial detainment for about over 50 days. And they need to be freed. And we are here to demonstrate that peaceful protest is needed to move the oil sector and the coal sector towards investment into renewable energies. The governments leave people alone, while global warming is accelerating.

MIKE BURKE: And can you talk a little bit about the connection between drilling in the Arctic and climate change?

MARTIN KAISER: The most recent outlook from the World Energy Organization made it very clear. Eighty percent of the fossil fuels need to stay in the earth, in the soil, rather than to be polluted into the atmosphere. That’s why new oil drilling in the Arctic should not happen. And we call on oil companies not to do new oil drilling in the Arctic.

PROTESTER: When do we want it?

PROTESTERS: Now!

PROTESTER: What do we want?

PROTESTERS: Climate justice!

PROTESTER: When do we want it?

PROTESTERS: Now!

VLADIMIR CHUPROV: My name is Vladimir Chuprov. I am from Russia, and I work for Greenpeace. You know about 28 activists which are in Russian prison at the moment, and two journalists, and one activist is from Poland, Tomasz Dziemianczuk. They’re charged for piracy for doing nonviolent peaceful action in Russian Arctic to stop dangerous projects which contribute into the climate disasters like in Philippines. They face 15 years in Russian prisons. And we have a very difficult situation at the moment in Russia where oil corporations, like Shell, Exxon, Rosneft, Gazprom, pour billions into state propaganda to convince Russian people that we are wrong. And I am really glad to be here surrounded by like-minded people, because we really need this kind of solidarity. I thank Polish people, majority of Polish people who support new world, renewable energy, new model of energy and economy. And I’m sure we have to change this world. Otherwise, we will not be able to see in the eyes of our children without shame. I will not be able to see to eyes my two boys without shame. And I am sure that some days we will open these prisons, the prisons where our minds, hearts, as well as his bodies. We have to do it, and we will do it. And I would like to give the floor to my colleague, Kasia, who will read letter of the Poland citizen, Tomasz Dziemianczuk, very briefly, shortly, written from the Russian prison.

KATARZYNA GUZEK: My name is Kasia Guzek. I’m from Greenpeace Poland, and I would like to share with you some words written by Tomasz, who is my friend. He is on this picture here. He wrote it in Murmansk on 24th of October. "Nowadays, environmental protection demands more courageous actions. 'Liking' on Facebook sometimes proves to be insufficient. In order to protect what is valuable for us, we have to undertake further actions. Such a planet as ours is the only one for the time being, and we cannot buy the second one for any money. We live in the times in which values important for citizens are more and more often trod and disrespected, and a country, which is supposed to protect them, protects interests of corporations and different interest groups. These are the times when you can go to prison for protection of environment and appear in the ranking of the world’s wealthiest people and on magazine covers for bank frauds.

"I hope that this story will end happily and our fate will not discourage the next generation of activists to take actions to protect the environment. I am proud of my fellows from all non-governmental organizations. I think they are people with the great sense of responsibility who are able to devote their time, very often their career, to higher, noble goals." Thank you very much.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been listening to some of the voices at the Saturday rally here in Warsaw, Poland, just outside the National Stadium, where we’re broadcasting. Those people deeply concerned about what’s happening to 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists who were covering them as they were trying to interrupt drilling in the Arctic by Russia. They have moved from Murmansk to Saint Petersburg and were in court today, as the court decides whether their pretrial detention will be extended. They face close to seven years in prison.

This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. When we come back, we’ll be joined by one of the leading Filipino activists, deeply concerned about what’s happening in his country, facing the worst recorded storm in history. Stay with us.

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