Magazine article New Internationalist

Kayaking Crusaders Close in on Shell

Magazine article New Internationalist

Kayaking Crusaders Close in on Shell

Article excerpt

Activists in kayaks have mounted a blockade in Sruth Fhada Conn estuary to stop Shell's development of a gas refinery and pipeline in County Mayo, Ireland. In the latest stage of a long-running battle, 15 activists from Rossport Solidarity Camp took to the waters, towing handmade rafts of wood and plastic to block imports vital for the construction of 80 boreholes that Shell plans to use to survey the territory.

Local residents and activists watched from the shores as a fleet of police and security boats surrounded the kayaked crusaders and began closing in. The activists tried anchoring their sturdy rafts in the middle of the estuary, but the strong current dislodged one and police snatched the other, taking it on shore and destroying it. Jumping from his kayak, one activist tried to board Shell's on-land platform, but he was picked up and arrested. The activist later claimed he was assaulted by police who blocked his air passage by putting their fingers on his throat.

Refusing to give in, the activists took to the waters again the next day. Nancy Serrano, an activist based in Limerick, was one of them. ? was in the water for about 20 seconds before the police gave me a warning; then they arrested me before I could paddle back. …

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