Xena Rainbow Warrior Princess arrested in oil-ship protest
Tuesday 28 February 2012
Lucy Lawless, best known for her star role in Xena: Warrior Princess, and five Greenpeace activists were arrested yesterday, four days after scaling a tower on a Shell oil exploration ship to stop it leaving Taranaki.
Police removed the protesters from their perch atop a 174-foot drilling tower on the Noble Discoverer in Port Taranaki. Chartered by oil company Shell, the ship had been due to leave over the weekend to drill five exploratory wells in the Arctic.
Lawless and six activists climbed the tower early on Friday to stop the ship's departure and raise awareness about Arctic oil drilling.
One of the activists left the tower on Saturday and was initially charged with unlawfully boarding a ship. All seven have now been charged with burglary, a more serious crime. All have been released and are due to appear in a New Zealand court Thursday.
Lawless, 43, a native New Zealander, spoke to The Associated Press from atop the tower Friday, where she said wind gusts were making it difficult for the group to stay put. She said she felt compelled to take a stand against oil-drilling in the Arctic and against global warming.
"I've got three kids. My sole biological reason for being on this planet is to ensure that they can flourish, and they can't do that in a filthy, degraded environment," she said. "We need to stand up while we still can."
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Lawless described some of the challenges of staying on the tower.
"I found last night pretty darn scary," she wrote. "Not for sissies."
In a release, Rob Jager, Chairman of Shell New Zealand, said the protest had put people in danger and he was pleased it was over. He said he remained disappointed that Greenpeace hadn't taken up the company's offer to engage in a "productive conversation."
Shell spokeswoman Shona Geary said she thought the ship would leave port within the next few days.
Bunny McDiarmid, the chief executive of Greenpeace New Zealand, said she thought the protest had gone "brilliantly" and that more than 100,000 people had sent messages to Shell to oppose the company's Arctic plans.
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