Greenpeace protesters end oil rig action

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Five Greenpeace protesters who attached themselves to a British Petroleum oil rig during a week-long demonstration, yesterday ended their action.

As the remaining protesters prepared to leave the Stena Dee installation, off the Shetland Islands, police arrested four of them. The fifth was believed to have boarded the vessel MVGreenpeace, according to a spokesman for the group.

He said the protestors were being taken off the Stena Dee because of "logistical constraints" and safety reasons but denied the demonstration had been a failure.

"We intend to apply considerable resources to the campaign in future, and we are still pursuing our legal challenge against exploration," he said.

Gerry Doyle, communications director for Greenpeace, said later that four of its members had been charged with breach of the peace and taken to Aberdeen.

They are due to appear in court later today.

BP said the occupation had slowed down work on the installation but not stopped it.

"The delay has caused us to suffer financial loss," a spokesman said. "But we are just pleased the unlawful action ended without injury. Our priority was to get these people off our rig."

Greenpeace began landing campaigners on the rig, destined for the Foinaven field, on August 9. But yesterday it notified its intention to leave the rig, saying the withdrawal did not indicate "defeat".

"Safety could no longer be guaranteed if the occupation was continued," said Chris Rose, Greenpeace's UK deputy executive director.

He added: "We have done as much as we can here without compromising the safety of our activists or others."