When the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise set sail to protest the first ever oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, none of the people on board could have known what was coming.
Seized at gunpoint by Russian special forces, the ‘Arctic 30’ were thrust into headlines all over the world, facing up to 15 years in prison and finding themselves at the centre of a bitter international dispute.
A similar protest the previous year at the same oil platform had seen the Greenpeace activists walk away untouched. This time, the events that unfolded sent shockwaves across the world.
With the eyes of the world upon them, Russia charged the crew, from 18 different countries, with piracy and hooliganism. It was the most ruthless response from a national government against an NGO in a quarter of a century.
Their imprisonment, which saw worldwide media cast the Arctic 30 in the same mould as political prisoners like Pussy Riot and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, lasted months. However, their resolve to try and stop oil drilling in the Arctic was never broken.
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