Activists arrested for anti-drilling slogans

Seven peaceful protestors may face anti-terrorism charges

On May 24, seven Greenpeace activists were arrested for rappelling down the side of a Shell Oil Co. drilling support ship docked in Port Fourchon, La.—an area affected by the oil spill that began in the Gulf of Mexico last month—and smearing anti-drilling slogans in crude oil, according to the New York Times. The slogans, which read “Arctic Next?” and “Salazar: Ban Arctic Drilling,” were intended to discourage U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar from allowing Shell to follow through with its plans to begin drilling in the Arctic Beaufort and Chukchi seas as early as this summer.

The activists were released the following morning on bail, and were charged with unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and a “critical infrastructure.” Phil Radford, Greenpeace’s executive director, released a statement calling it “outrageous” that peaceful protestors would be harshly prosecuted when BP oil executives have yet to face charges.

The New Orleans Joint Terrorism Task Force is also “looking into the matter,” and the activists could face terrorism charges, said Sgt. Lesley Hill Peters of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.