French free MPs held at Mururoa protest
Tuesday 12 September 1995
After they arrived in Papeete, capital of French Polynesia, on a military flight from Mururoa, the MPs, from Japan, Australia, Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg, said the French military had treated them with respect after commandos raided the yacht, La Ribaude, but had intimidated the vessel's American skipper, Twilly Cannon, and his crew.
The MPs and their fellow passengers, two Austrian environmentalists and seven journalists, were suffering severe sea-sickness when the armed commandos boarded La Ribaude after it crossed the 12-mile exclusion zone around Mururoa on Saturday. Ian Cohen, an Australian MP, said the parliamentarians were taken under guard to the Mururoa hospital, where they were given food and beds for the night.
But Mr Cannon and his crew were forced to stand in the sun, deprived of sleep and interrogated until they were put on the flight to Papeete. "They were taunted with food as a means of extracting information from them," Mr Cohen said.
Mr Cannon said: "I was isolated from the rest of the crew. They kept waking me up while I was sleeping to answer questions about actions or individuals totally unrelated to the parliamentary mission."
The passengers of La Ribaude were the fourth group of Greenpeace protesters arrested over the past fortnight after breaching the Mururoa exclusion zone. The other activists managed to infiltrate the atoll in an attempt to disrupt France's resumption of nuclear tests, the first of which was on Wednesday.
Mr Cohen said the politicians were more concerned to carry a message on behalf of millions of people world-wide who wanted France to stop the tests. "Despite the traumas of the trip, we were able to make a very strong, unified statement, and gave the French military our point of view." Greenpeace maintains that it will continue its action at Mururoa against the next French nuclear test, whenever it is held.
n A union leader suspected of having helped to instigate riots that broke out last week after the nuclear test has been charged and jailed, AP reports.
Hiro Tefaarere, of the Atia I Mua union, was jailed on Sunday at Nutaania prison after a variety of charges were lodged, sources said, and five other union militants were arrested at Atia I Mua headquarters on unspecified charges.
Young militants from the union went to the airport and scuffled with police on the tarmac. Mr Tefaarere was seen there with a loudspeaker but claims he was trying to calm down militants.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...