Six of 30 arrested Greenpeace activists leave Russia

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 1:45am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 1:45am

Five British Greenpeace activists and one Canadian left Russia yesterday after an amnesty that halted their prosecution for a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic.

Following a flight out of St Petersburg precisely 100 days after first being detained, the activists landed at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, with most then heading for Britain.

We still want to do what we said ... for which we spent two years in prison: drive him away

Anthony Perrett, Phil Ball, Iain Rogers, Alex Harris and Kieron Bryan - all British citizens - were smiling as they were escorted by police outside the airport. The sixth activist, Alexandre Paul of Montreal, remained in the transit area awaiting another flight.

The Russian parliament had passed amendments to the initial Kremlin amnesty apparently aimed at allowing the "Arctic 30" to benefit from it.

The two jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were freed on Monday under the amnesty. They said yesterday they still wanted to topple President Vladimir Putin.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina flew into Moscow yesterday and held a news conference.

"As for Vladimir Putin, we still feel the same about him," Tolokonnikova said, referring to the chorus in their song, "Mother of God, drive Putin away."

"We still want to do what we said in our last performance for which we spent two years in prison: drive him away."

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press