TEN green campaigners – and a polar bear – managed to shut more than a dozen Scottish petrol stations today in a protest against drilling operations in the arctic.
Greenpeace campaigners targeted Shell stations in Edinburgh by putting tape around the pumps. It is understood they used the emergency cut-off switch to stop fuel reaching the pumps.
Two protesters climbed on to the forecourt roof of one petrol station, set up a tent, and hung a giant “Save the arctic” poster.
Dozens of police officers were involved in the operation and there were farcical scenes as a man dressed a polar bear was arrested.
Greenpeace targeted Shell because of their plan to drill for oil in the unspoilt terrain of the arctic. The environmental group said it had sent half a million protest letters to corporation and claimed they had been ignored.
The Shell station in Edinburgh’s Dalry Road was the main focus of today’s protest.
Climate campaigner Richard George said: “The plan is to close 100 petrol stations today in both London and Edinburgh to stop arctic drilling, we are not going to just stand by and watch it happen.
“The arctic is the last pristine place in the world they haven’t touched, it should be declared off limits. We want it to be left alone!
“We want to send a message to Shell that it is not alright to do this, they can’t.”
As well as the man dressed as a bear, at least one other protester were arrested by officers at the Dalry station.
Mr George said protesters were doing their best to minimise disruption to the public.
He said: “We are redirecting cars to another garage up the road so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
He added: “The response has been very supportive from the public. People have been beeping horns and waving.”
One passer-by gave protesters his backing.
The man, who asked not to be named, said: “This is a fragile environment that we are in, look what BP did in the Gulf. I am fully supportive of what they are campaigning for.”
Elsewhere in the city, at least two Shell stations – in Slateford Road and Crewe Road South – remained open but had a police presence.
The station in Seafield Road was closed and guarded by police even though there was no sign of protesters.
Shell said they believed around 30 petrol stations were closed in Edinburgh and London.
A spokesman said: “Shell recognises that certain organisations are opposed to our exploration programme offshore Alaska, and we respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations.
“Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others, including the general public and Shell personnel in mind.
“Shell has met with numerous organisations and individuals who oppose drilling offshore Alaska. We respect their views and value the dialogue. We have extended this same offer for productive dialogue to Greenpeace.”
Greenpeace launched its Save the Arctic campaign last week in a bid to stop drilling and industrial fishing.