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Greenpeace Stages Canadian Rallies For Activists Jailed In Russia

10/05/2013 04:11 EDT | Updated 12/05/2013 05:12 EST
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A Greenpeace activist in handcuffs takes part in a demonstration in support of 30 activists arrested and jailed by Russia for staging an open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling, at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid on October 5, 2013. The global environmental lobby group's icebreaker Arctic Sunrise was impounded by Russian authorities last month after it approached the world's first oil rig in the pristine Barents Sea. A court in Russia's northwestern region of Murmansk has since charged all crew members -- who come from 18 countries including Britain and the United States -- with piracy. AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
TORONTO - Greenpeace is organizing protests in a handful of Canadian cities to call for the release of two activists from Quebec and Ontario who were among 30 people charged with piracy for a protest at a Russian oil platform in the Arctic.

The environmental group says rallies are scheduled across the world, including events Saturday night in Toronto and Montreal, along with protests in Port Colborne, Ont., and Wolfsville, N.S.

The crew of the seized Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise includes Alexandre Paul of Montreal and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, and the charge they both face can result in a 15-year prison term upon conviction.

Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and describes the charges as absurd, while Paul's mother says they make no sense.

Greenpeace International's director Kumi Naidoo says Russia's seizure of the ship and the arrest of its crew is the worst "assault" on the group's environmental activism since its flagship Rainbow Warrior ship was bombed in 1985.

Several hundred people gathered Saturday in London to protest Russia's actions, while there were smaller protests in several other British cities and in other parts of the world, including Brazil.

Russia seized Arctic Sunrise after a Sept. 18 protest at a Gazprom oil drilling platform located in the Arctic circle, and last week charged all 30 people on board with piracy.

— With files from the Associated Press.

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