Greenpeace’s ‘polar bear’ protests before Kremlin over energy exploration in Arctic waters

02 Apr 2013


A polar-bear suit-wearing Greenpeace activist floated along the Moscow River past the Kremlin in a bid to draw attention on energy exploration in Russia's Arctic waters that have been endangering Polar bears and eliminating their natural habitats. The activist was later briefly arrested.

The furry suit clad activist stood on a white air cushion designed to look like an ice floe with signs reading "Help!" and "Arctic not for Sale" before a river patrol motorboat caught up with him.

The activist, who was not charged, was later released from a police station, Greenpeace said on Twitter, adding that "the crimes are being committed in the Arctic."

According to Greenpeace the protest was aimed to draw attention to a planned joint venture between Norway's Statoil and Russia's Rosneft to explore Russia's Barents Sea for untapped oil reserves.=

According to a statement on its website, Greenpeace would start to collect signatures for a petition calling on Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg to halt the project, warning of the risk of oil spills.

Greenpeace accused Statoil of taking on environmentally risky projects in Russia that it would not consider doing in its home country.

Last year, activists from the organisation, had in similar demonstrations picketed the headquarters of state-owned energy giant Gazprom and were charged with breaking rules on protests and fined.

According to Greenpeace, the state-run Rosneft - incidentally, Russia's biggest taxpayer - had the worst track record on oil spills among all Russian oil companies, with about 10,000 spills a year.

This is not the first time that Greenpeace has taken on oil companies over the Arctic. It forced Russia's Gazprom to drop its plans to drill for oil in the northern Pechora Sea, last year.

The company's Moscow office was picketed by costumed ''polar bears, and environmental activists stormed Gazprom's oil platform in the Pechora Sea, stopping its operations for hours.

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