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Russian detention of Greenpeace activists a threat to democracy

“Politics begins and ends in the streets; or in international waters as the case may be. That Russia captured activists from an international environmental organisation in international waters is a threat to democracy, a threat to free speech and a threat to the right to demonstrate,” Swedish GUE/NGL MEP Mikael Gustafsson said in today's European Parliament debate on the detention of Greenpeace activists by Russia.

“On Monday, we discussed the upcoming COP in Poland and the expectations of this meeting seem almost non-existent. Because international climate negotiations have been a major disappointment we need organisations like Greenpeace more than ever to continue to act, highlight and fight for our environment and the rights of future generations. It is incumbent upon us in the European Parliament to demand the immediate release of these activists,” he said.

Danish MEP Søren Søndergaard began by offering condolences to the Russian people affected by the recent terrorist attack, in Volgograd, where about 20 bus passengers were killed or wounded. “Nothing can excuse attacks on innocent civilians,” he said, “But on the other hand, any democratic state must be ready to accept peaceful protest against its policies.”

“Therefore, I urge the Russian authorities to immediately release the detained Greenpeace activists and drop the charges of piracy against them. Such charges could yield up to 15 years in prison. These people are concerned citizens who use peaceful means to draw attention to the disastrous consequences of oil drilling in the Arctic. Not just for the environment, but also for local populations.”

GUE/NGL Press:
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
European United Left/Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group