They're finally home.
An hour ago, Alex, Anthony, Phil, Iain, and Kieron stepped
through arrivals at St Pancras International, and are completely free at last.
Over the past couple of days, exit visas have
been issued to all of the Arctic 30, and they've gradually been leaving St
Petersburg. Dima Litvinov was the first to leave yesterday evening – exactly
100 days after they took action against Gazprom's oil rig - and the rest are
following over the next few days.
It’s thanks to you they're free. Every email,
every vigil, every protest during the last three months has kept the eyes of
the world on Russia. Millions of us around the world joined together to free
the Arctic 30 and protect the Arctic. While the injustice of the last three
months is now over, the enormous threat to the Arctic remains.
There's a fantastic quote from Kieron Bryan
that sums it up: “People in [Russia] don’t get bail, it doesn’t happen. When we
got bail, that’s because of the pressure put on the Russian government by
everyone supporting us. If it wasn’t for that, I know I’d have spent Christmas
Day in prison.”
The Arctic 30 sailed north to bear witness to
a profound environmental threat, they protested peacefully at that oil platform
because they knew an Arctic oil spill can’t be cleaned up, and they know the
danger posed to the Arctic by climate change. They took part in civil
disobedience because sometimes actually doing something - taking a stand - is
the only course of action open.
Today, we can celebrate the freedom of the Arctic
30. Tomorrow, the fight to save the Arctic goes up a gear. As the Arctic 30
received amnesty, Gazprom began production of the first oil from beneath the
icy Arctic seas - and with Shell poised to return to the Alaskan Arctic next
year, the threat to this beautiful and fragile region has never been greater.
But with millions of us standing together, the
movement to protect it has never been stronger.
While in Russia Arctic 30 activist Camila
Speziale said: “Am I ready to continue fighting for my beliefs? Of course I
They're ready. Are you?
On the train heading back to the UK (c) David Sandison / Greenpeace
Arriving at St Pancras (c) David Sandison / Greenpeace