23 Sep 2009

Diversion considered over Greenpeace boat protest

6:31 pm on 23 September 2009

Police have offered to withdraw charges against 11 Greenpeace campaigners involved in the boarding of a cargo ship off Tauranga last week.

Fifteen protesters involved in the incident last Wednesday have been granted bail to reappear before district courts in Auckland, Wellington and Whangerei in November.

The protesters wanted to stop the East Ambition from unloading a shipment of palm kernel animal feed, saying the crop contributes to rainforest clearance in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Twelve protesters had shackled themselves to the ship's cranes, one to its ladder and another to its anchor chain.

A lawyer for Greenpeace, Rob Harrison, says 11 of the 15 protesters are being considered for diversion by police, meaning charges of unlawfully being on the ship will be withdrawn if they comply with agreed conditions.

Mr Harrison says the protest was carried out in a very efficient, professional and safe manner - and that may be partly why police are offering diversion to the majority of those charged.