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

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Y4 Teacher - Leicester

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: We are currently recruiting ...

VMware Infrastructure Engineer - (VCP, VMware) - £45k, London

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Infrastructure Engineer, VMware (VCP, NetApp,...

Business Development Manager

Salary/Rate: £32,000/annum: M&E Global Resources Ltd: Description/Main Duties ...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor