A large turnout is expected at a Greenpeace protest outside
the Russian Embassy in Wellington today.
The rally is part of a global Day of Solidarity, with events
taking place at more than 170 locations in 45 countries to
protest against the arrest of 30 Greenpeace activists.
The group, including two New Zealanders have been charged
with piracy by Russian authorities.
All crew members of the Arctic Sunrise ship, which was seized
in international waters last month during a protest over
drilling for oil in the Arctic, now face up to 15 years in
prison if convicted.
New Zealand activists Jonathan Beauchamp and David Haussmann
are among those facing jail.
Lawyers for the environment group have lodged formal appeals
in the Murmansk Lenin district court against the continued
detention of the crew members, who have been dubbed 'the
Today's protest has been organised to voice the "profound
injustice" of the charges, with Greenpeace calling for people
to "fight against bullies".
Supporters of the activists will gather outside the Russian
Embassy in Karori from midday, in a picket which will also
feature speeches from families of the two New Zealanders held
by Russian police.
Greenpeace international executive director Kumi Naidoo said
its activists had been "accused of an imaginary offence", and
branded it a "profound injustice".
The protests internationally include a human banner on Hong
Kong's harbour, pickets at former Apartheid detention centres
in South Africa, and a replica Arctic Sunrise unveiling in
Meanwhile, the Dutch foreign minister said yesterday he would
file a suit to recover the Arctic Sunrise.
Frans Timmermans said he would also try to obtain the release
of the ship's 30 occupants charged with piracy by Russia via
"I feel responsible for the ship and its crew because it's a
ship that sails under the Dutch flag," he told reporters in
The Hague, Netherlands.
- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ