AMSTERDAM Greenpeace International's director says Russia's seizure of its ship "Arctic Sunrise" and the arrest of its crew is the worst "assault" on the group's environmental activism since its flagship "Rainbow Warrior" was bombed in 1985.
Russia seized "Arctic Sunrise" after a Sept. 18 protest at a Gazprom oil drilling platform located in the Arctic circle, and last week charged all 30 people on board with piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Kicking off global Greenpeace protests Saturday, international director Kumi Naidoo said "we will not be bullied and intimidated into silence." He demanded the release of the activists, who come from 18 countries.
In London, several hundred people gathered to protest Russia's actions. The crowd included some celebrities, including actor Jude Law and musician Damon Albarn. Law said it was "ludicrous" for Russia to charge the activists with piracy.
There were smaller protests in several other British cities and in other parts of the world, including Brazil.
French secret operatives blew up the "Rainbow Warrior" in New Zealand because it was going to protest against French nuclear tests. One person died.