Protesting ‘Polar Bears’ Detained at Gazprom Office in Moscow

Environmental activists from Greenpeace dressed as polar bears blocking the entrance to the Moscow office of Gazprom on Wednesday have been detained by police, a Greenpeace spokeswoman said.

“The activists set up an improvised Arctic reserve, pitched tents on the snow and chained themselves to the fence. The campaign lasted about an hour, after which ten activists including four foreigners from Germany, Austria, Poland and Hungary were arrested and taken to the district police department,” Vera Bakasheva, a Greenpeace spokeswoman, said.

At the same time German Greenpeace activists were holding another event in Berlin. They placed a three-meter model of an oil rig opposite a Gazprom office in Berlin with black liquid pouring out of it onto an ice floe suggesting the threat of an oil spill in the Arctic.

Activists were expressing their protest against oil production in the Arctic, which is being carried out by Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Neft Shelf on the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea.

“The probability of an oil spill in this harsh land is very high. The only way to prevent a disaster is to prohibit any drilling here and to create a global reserve around the North Pole, turning it into an area of peace and science,” head of the energy department at Greenpeace Russia Vladimir Chuprov said.

At the end of August, six activists, led by executive director of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo, scaled the side of the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea and remained suspended there for 15 hours, holding a banner reading “Save the Arctic.” They were forced to end the protest when sailors aboard the ship doused them with high-pressure water cannons.

In June, Greenpeace International announced a campaign to collect signatures in support of the Arctic from commercial development and in support for the establishment of the reserve there. Originally it was planned to collect one million signatures but the signature counter passed the one million mark in less than a month and organizers decided to continue the action. At present more than 1.5 million people support the campaign.


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