These last few days in Russia have been awash in joyful news. At time of writing, 26 of the Arctic 30 have been granted bail, though sadly one has bafflingly been denied bail and given three more months of pre-trial detention.
Already, heartwarming images are coming out of some of the emotional reunions between A30 detainees and their loved ones outside the jail in St Petersburg. It reminds us all of the human story behind the headlines. These are real people who have put everything on the line to protect the Arctic. And today, we bought their stories straight to Shell’s doorstep, in an installation called 30 Acts Of Courage.
Despite the good news about the majority of the Arctic 30 being granted bail, there is still a long road ahead. The 28 activists and a photographer and videographer still face ludicrous charges of hooliganism in Russia, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years. And we still don’t know if the bailed activists are going to be able to go home or if they must stay in Russia for the next three months.
Take a virtual tour of the exhibition in this short video
Above: Activists hold up a picture of Cristian d’Allessandro
So why Shell’s doorstep? Because they have entered into a deal with Gazprom, whose intervention was critical to the arrest of the Arctic 30. So far Shell have remained silent on the issue, showing that their allegiance is to Arctic oil and not with the right to peaceful protest. As long as they remain silent on this issue, Shell are complicit in the ongoing detention of the Arctic 30.
Radio operator Colin Russell is the only Arctic 30 to be denied bail so far.
Each of the Arctic 30 were represented on 30 large portrait boards, installed directly in front of Shell’s HQ in London.
The exhibition was officially opened by fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, pictured here in front of an image of Sini Saarela.
She said: "I'm delighted to be able to open this exhibition celebrating the bravery of the Arctic 30. Their audacious efforts to protect one of the world's last remaining wildernesses from exploitation by the oil industry are an example to us all. I urge everyone who cares about the climate, the natural world or the right to peaceful protest to share their concerns with Shell and Gazprom."
Activists installed pictures of the Arctic 30 outside Shell HQ. The pop up exhibition was installed at 8.30am by a team of 65 Greenpeace volunteers.
Activists hold a banner in front of the exhibition. Shell security ‘facilitated’ staff around the photos and into the building.
Activists climb a flagpole next to the exhibition to fly a Free the Arctic 30 flag.
Make sure the Arctic 30 can be reunited with their friends and family - and stay out of Russian prison. Tell Shell and Gazprom to Free the Arctic 30.