IMPHAL, November 16: Greenpeace India began a 30 hour protest today at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to stand in solidarity with the 30 individuals who have been arrested in Russia for peacefully protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic region. Manipur Cycle Club(MCC) joined the nationwide protest in the premise of the historical Kangla Fort. Members of MCC, students, NGO activists participated in the solemn protest.
There are 30 protests planned in 30 different cities across India today for this cause. People will come together to create the message – ‘Free the Arctic 30’, in front of the famous historical and cultural monuments in their city. The 30 hours are significant of the fight that the Arctic 30 have been putting up to stop oil drilling in the Arctic.
On 18 September 2013, 28 activists from Greenpeace, one videographer and one photographer were arrested by the Russian authorities when they tried to peacefully climb the oil rig owned by the oil company Gazprom in the Arctic. They are charged disproportionately with piracy and hooliganism and may face a jail term of maximum seven years. Currently, they are imprisoned at Murmansk, Russia. The Arctic 30 are about to complete two months in the prison by next week.
The response from India has been phenomenal in support of the Arctic 30. More than 27750 people from India have already sent a letter to the Russian ambassador to India for the release of the Arctic 30. Also, almost 40 members of the parliament have endorsed their support.
Bollywood celebrities like John Abraham, Sonam Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap Dia Mirza and Nandita Das have come forward to spread awareness about the Arctic 30 and endorse the cause. Almost 100 civil society members and 30 prominent scientists from India also appealed to the Russian ambassador to free the Arctic 30.
‘Greenpeace India is humbled by this show of solidarity by people from all walks of life and we appreciate the effort that Indians are putting into drawing attention towards the plight of the Arctic 30 in the prison. The oil drilling in the Arctic by companies like Gazprom is destroying the already fragile environment of the Arctic. Climate change will impact all of us and no country is immune to it. The Arctic 30 bravely protested against the threat of oil drilling in the region and are now bearing the consequences of peaceful confrontation. We must do all we can in our power to help in freeing the Arctic 30’ said Samit Aich, Executive Director, Greenpeace India.
Greenpeace India demands the immediate release of all the arrested and an end to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. Greenpeace has practiced non-violent activism from its initiation and will continue peaceful protests to free the Arctic 30 from the prison.