Russia arrests Greenpeace activists

Moscow - Russian police on Wednesday arrested 10 Greenpeace activists, some wearing polar bear costumes, who were protesting the country's programme for developing energy resources in the Arctic, the environmental lobby group said.

The demonstration took place in front of the headquarters of the Russian state-owned energy corporation Gazprom. Among the detainees were nationals from Germany, Austria, Poland and Hungary, a Greenpeace spokesman said.

Greenpeace activists dressed as polar bears protest outside Gazprom's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Russian and international environmentalists are protesting against Gazprom's plans to pioneer oil drilling in the Arctic. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze). Credit: AP

Four of the protesters were dressed as polar bears and rolled around in artificial snow dumped at a vehicle entrance to the headquarters. Moscow police removed them immediately.

Those arrested could be charged with participating in an unsanctioned demonstration, police said.

Gazprom management has targeted the Arctic Ocean sea bottom adjacent to Russia's Yamal peninsula, some 2 000 kilometres north-east of Moscow, for development in the coming years.

Corporate officials have said the project does not threaten the environment. Opponents, however, argue that the offshore drilling would affect sea life populations and, in case of an accident, could destroy coastal wetlands. - Sapa-dpa