During a period of 18 hours, more than 60 activists from all over Europe, volunteering with Greenpeace Netherlands, were able to block a mega-ship arriving in the Netherlands with 60 million kilos of soy from Brazil. The activists are demanding a strong new EU “anti-deforestation” law. The blockade ended with the police detaining 11 activists – eight climbers and three boat activists.
On May 11, activists blocked the lock gates that the 225-meter-long Crimson Ace must pass to access the port of Amsterdam. The Netherlands is the gateway to Europe for the import of products such as palm oil, meat and soy for animal feed, often linked to nature destruction and human rights violations.
Andy Palmen, director of Greenpeace Netherlands, said: “There’s a draft EU law on the table that could end Europe’s complicity in nature destruction, but it is far from being strong enough. Hundreds of ships carrying soy for animal feed, meat, and palm oil come to our ports every year.
“Europeans might not drive the bulldozers, but through this trade, Europe shares responsibility for clear-cut felling in Borneo and fires in Brazil. With this action we sent a clear message to the EU ministers. And we’ll keep pressuring them to turn the proposal into a solid, watertight law.”
More than 60 volunteers from 16 countries and two Indigenous leaders from Brazil took part in the peaceful protest at the sea gate in IJmuiden, Amsterdam. Alberto Terena and Waduwabati Suyá joined the protest from aboard the Beluga II, Greenpeace Germany’s 33-meter-long sailing chartered ship, with a banner between the masts reading ‘EU: Stop nature destruction now’.
Alberto Terena, Indigenous Leader of the Terena People’s Council in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, said: “We have been driven from our land and our rivers have been polluted with poison, all to make room for agribusiness expansion. Europe shares responsibility for the destruction of our homes. But this legislation can help to stop future destruction.
“We call on ministers to seize this opportunity, not only to ensure Indigenous people’s rights, but also for the future of the planet. The production of feed for your industrial animals and the beef that is imported should no longer mean our suffering.”
Photo credit: Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace