By New Worker correspondent
AROUND 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Russian embassy in Kensington, London, last Saturday to demand the release of 30 Greenpeace activists who were arrested a week ago by the Russian police on a charge of piracy after they tried to board a Russian oil drilling rig in the Arctic Sea.
The protesters included a number of celebrities: Jude Law, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Dame Vivian Westwood, Damon Albarn and many more.
Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement the charge, which can result in a 15-year prison term upon conviction, was filed on Thursday 3rd October against 16 members of the crew. The other 14 crew members were similarly charged the day before.
The Russian coast guard seized the Greenpeace vessel, the Arctic Sunrise and everyone aboard following the 18th September protest at the offshore platform owned by Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom.
The activists are now in custody in the northern city of Murmansk.
Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said: “The activists were taking a brave stand to protect all of us from climate change, and the dangers of reckless oil drilling in the Arctic.
"Now it’s imperative that millions of us stand up with them to defend the Arctic and demand their immediate release. Gazprom, Shell and the other oil companies rushing to carve up the Arctic and destroy its fragile environment must see that we are millions and we will not be bullied and intimidated into silence.
“We stand as one, in countries across the world, demanding the release of these 30 brave men and women.”