Greenpeace activists taunt French

WILL BENNETT

Three Greenpeace activists penetrated the exclusion zone around the Mururoa atoll nuclear test site in the south Pacific yesterday as environmental campaigners continued to play a game of cat and mouse with the French authorities.

They entered the zone in a Zodiac fast inflatable boat launched from the Greenpeace vessel Vega, which remained outside French territorial waters when its sister ship Rainbow Warrior II went inside only to be boarded by 150 commandos.

Sally Convery, a Greenpeace campaigner in London, said last night that it was believed that two men had now landed on the atoll 650 miles east of Tahiti in their effort to frustrate French plans to carry outeight underground nuclear tests.

The trio are all Greenpeace veterans. Chris Robinson, an Australian, and Henk Haazen, who has dual Dutch and New Zealand nationality, were both members of the crew of the original Rainbow Warrior which was sunk by a French bomb exactly 10 years ago. David McTaggart, a Canadian, took part in protests at Mururoa in the Seventies.

Two other Greenpeace activists who got ashore and climbed to the top of the rig which drills the shafts for the underground tests were arrested by the French after half an hour.

Richard Laney, who has dual British and Australian citizenship, and Madeleine Habib, an Australian, crewed one of four Zodiacs which set off from the Rainbow Warrior II almost two hours before it was intercepted by the French navy on Sunday.

Michael Szabo, a Greenpeace spokesman in New Zealand, said: "What we have shown is that we are capable of breaching the military security of the nuclear test site. We have demonstrated our ability to disrupt the testing programme and we are still in a position to look at future activities which could further disrupt the preparations."

The Rainbow Warrior II was seized by the French on Sunday, when commandos smashed down doors with an axe and hurled tear gas canisters inside. The ship was towed out of the exclusion zone by a French tug yesterday and last night was 15 miles north-east of the atoll, where it was still being shadowed by a French navy frigate.

Also in the area outside the exclusion zone is a third Greenpeace ship, the Bifrost.

As protesters gathered outside French embassies around the world, governments in the Pacific heaped criticism on France's decision to conduct the tests. But Britain and other European countries refrained from commenting on the commando action. Only Germany seems inclined to put pressure on Paris, with Chancellor Helmut Kohl preparing to raise the issue with President Jacques Chirac at tomorrow's Franco-German summit.

The Greenpeace raid

`There was a shuddering jolt as we were rammed.

It was frightening.'

- the story of the French commando raid, page 10

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week