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article imageUK Shell petrol stations targeted by Greenpeace over Arctic plans

By Anne Sewell     Jul 16, 2012 in Environment
Greenpeace campaigners have been targeting Shell petrol stations in the United Kingdom, over the company's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.
Their plans were to shut down at least 14 petrol stations in Edinburgh, Scotland and around 105 petrol stations in London are also on their list.
There are reports of 24 confirmed arrests, six in Edinburgh and 18 in London, and police in Edinburgh have reportedly parked cars outside all Shell petrol stations across the city.
The Guardian is reporting that so far, they have managed to shut down 74 petrol stations.
Greenpeace have stated that Shell “is preparing, for the first time, to unleash a drilling fleet of huge vessels upon the fragile and beautiful Arctic, home of the polar bears.”
They say it’s time “to draw a line in the ice and tell Shell to stop. That's why today we're going to shut down all of Shell's petrol stations in the capital cities of London and Edinburgh. We've got dozens of people who will hit over 100 Shell garages throughout the day," Greenpeace representative Sara Ayech said.
Another campaigner, Graham Thompson helped to shut down a station. He says, "The staff were very pleasant and very reasonable. Obviously they're not entirely happy about what's going on but they've responded in a very civilised way.
Commenting on future plans, Thompson said, "Obviously, we need to ratchet up the pressure, we need to let Shell know that this isn't just a publicity campaign, we're going to put pressure on them until they agree to stop what they're doing."
The video shows activists using the emergency shut-off switch to stop petrol going to the pumps, effectively closing the station.
The activists also draped a large banner across the forecourt with images of animals that Greenpeace believe are threatened by oil exploration in the Arctic. They also used tape with the slogan "Save the Arctic" to close access to the petrol station. Some of the campaigners also wore polar bear suits, to emphasize the danger to these animals.
The current protest is part of the Save the Arctic Campaign by Greenpeace, which is aimed at preventing oil drilling and industrial fishing in the Arctic. They want the region recognized as a world park.
Greenpeace understands that Shell will start drilling in the Alaskan Arctic in the coming weeks, and that the Russian oil company, Gazprom, is also due to start work in the region.
A spokesman for Shell has apparently noted that the company “recognizes that certain organizations are opposed to our exploration program Offshore Alaska.”
People who are concerned about oil drilling in the Arctic and who would like to save the polar bears' domain, can sign a petition on the Greenpeace website.
More about Greenpeace, United Kingdom, Shell, petrol stations, Arctic drilling
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