In the video below, you can see Spanish Navy boats ramming ours, knocking one activist into the water with a broken leg. It’s another reminder of the lengths governments will go to protect the oil industry from peaceful protesters.
At stake are two of the Canary Islands (Fuerteventura and Lanzarote), off the coast of Spain. A company called Repsol has been given a permit to drill there, despite the risks to the ecology and tourist economy. Greenpeace Spain sided with island locals in opposing this drilling, but their warnings about safety and legal issues have so far been ignored by the Spanish government.
Drill site occupation
Our ship, the Arctic Sunrise, occupied the drill site before the drilling vessel arrived. It maintained the occupation, despite pressure from the authorities.
Here’s the captain, telling the patrol vessel that our ship is staying put…
Protest and ramming
This morning, activists from the Arctic Sunrise went on small boats to protest the drilling vessel. The Spanish authorities reacted violently as you can see in the video below – deliberately ramming the boats and putting the lives of peaceful activists at risk.
The 23 year old Italian who was knocked overboard and had her leg broken, has been taken to a hospital on shore by a navy helicopter, and is in good condition. Another activist was treated on board the Arctic Sunrise for minor cuts.
Arctic Sunrise, and its crew, back in action
This is the first protest by our ship, the Arctic Sunrise, since it was boarded in international waters and held for over 300 days in Russian custody, following a protest opposing Gazprom’s oil drilling in the Arctic. After winning the release of the ship, we brought it to Amsterdam, Netherlands for repairs and now it is back at work.
It wasn’t only our ship that was held in Russia. Twenty-eight crew members and two journalist that had been on board the ship were also held for more than three months in Russian detention centers. Two of these crew members joined the Arctic Sunrise to help protect the Canary Islands – Ana Paula, deckhand, from Brazil, and Alexander, bosun, from Canada.
More info: Live blog (in Spanish).
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