You are invited to join a silent vigil this Saturday in Corbridge and/or Hexham in support of the Greenpeace Arctic 30 and to invite like-minded people to join too.
You will be aware that climate change can only be limited by leaving most of the coal in the ground and not pursuing extreme forms of oil and gas extraction. One of the most desperate of these is drilling for oil in the pristine Arctic waters, following the retreating ice.
Gazprom and Shell are currently the only participants. Shell has been forced to pause its operations in the Alaskan Actic while it is under criminal investigation by the US Government following a series of blunders and accidents. It has opted for the more flexible regulatory environment of the Russian Arctic and gone into partnership with Russian owned Gazprom. Gazprom managed a spectacular 827 oil spills in 2012 alone.
On 18th September, whilst bearing witness to Gazprom’s imminent drilling for oil in international Arctic waters, the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, always standing more than 3 nautical miles away from the Gazprom rig, was boarded by force, the crew arrested, and the ship then towed to Murmansk. The 28 Greenpeace activists from 17 different countries and 2 journalists were charged with piracy with a maximum 15 year jail term and refused bail.
All but 3 are now charged with hooliganism, with a maximum 7 year jail term, although the piracy charges are yet to be lifted. They have been detained in prison until yesterday when all but the radio operator were finally granted bail.
Gazprom are clearly requiring the Russian authorities to hit Greenpeace hard as we are the only body exposing their devastation of the environment to international scrutiny. Greenpeace will not withdraw from peaceful protest and calls for widespread international condemnation of Shell and Gazprom’s activities and for the withdrawal of the charges.
Saturday 16th November saw an international day of action with vigils throughout the world at Shell petrol stations, 2 in Newcastle.
On Saturday 23rd November there will be further vigils at Shell petrol stations, with one in Corbridge from 10am to 11am and one in Hexham from 11am to 12 noon, fuller details below. This will be a silent vigil on the public footpath only.
Following the well attended vigils for the Arctic 30 last Saturday at Shell petrol stations in Byker and South Gosforth Newcastle, there will be 2 further vigils in Tynedale on Saturday 23rd November in Corbridge and Hexham to which supporters are invited as follows:
10am to 11am, Bishops Garage, Main Street, Corbridge, NE45 5BL
11am to 12 noon, Dale garage, Haugh Lane, Hexham, NE46 3QQ
Contact person: Malcolm Reid, 01434 682678, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tabards and posters will be provided.