By Saju Ng’alla
Nearly a week after a Greenpeace vessel was denied entry into the Federation, police arrested on Tuesday, 10 activists of the environmental organization.
The arrests took place on the beach behind the Marriott Resort at Frigate Bay. It is there that the 58th meeting of the International Whaling Committee was held.
The meeting ended on Tuesday with pro-whaling nations pushing forward a declaration in support of resuming commercial whale hunting.
According to police reports, no one was hurt during the arrests, even though police had to use force to take some of the protestors into custody.
According to people on the scene at the time of the arrests — some of which were tourists — police had to drag some of the protestors of the beach while others had to be completely carried off the beach.
It is unclear how some of the protestors got on the beach, but reports indicate that some of the protestors came from a Greenpeace vessel, thatdocked on the Atlantic side of the St. Kitts. Protestors used two small inflatable boats to reach the shore, where they raised a number of black wooden ‘whale tails,’ with ‘R.I.P.’ written on them.
Witnesses said as many as six to seven protestors came off the boat.
A Greenpeace activist, who spoke briefly to The Observer about the incident, said some good came out of the ICW meeting.
“We there peacefully” she said, however declined to give her name in fear that she might be deported. “We wanted to make sure that our message got across.”
The activist said it was not the intention of the protestors to get arrested or commit a crime.
“We had no guns or any other kind of weapons. We made our demonstration peacefully.”
She pointed out that a resolution was passed at the IWC meeting for countries to recognize the right to peaceful protest.
However, such a small concession was not enough to appease Greenpeace. She pointed out that by the end of the year, a Japanese whaling fleet would continue to hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. There, she claims the fleet will hunt and kill up to 935 Minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales.
According to an official release from the organization, activists will continue the fight against whaling.
“… we have pledged our own return to the Sanctuary – to once again put ourselves between whale and harpoon, and continue to use all peaceful means to protect the whales,” the release said.
Last week, Dwyer Astaphan, Minister of National Security said that the Government had refused a request by a Greenpeace vessel to enter the Federation’s waters.
Astaphan said the Government made that decision due to national security concerns.