Exclusive, 28 November 2011
That is what the Greenpeace activists who invaded the Edinburgh offices of Cairn Energy to complain about climate pollution have been told. Though they were last week cleared of breach of the peace charges by Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the company is still enforcing an interdict that prevents pictures of the protest being published.
Cairn’s lawyers have insisted that a photo showing people clad as polar bears lying around the company’s offices be removed from a Greenpeace website. The penalty for not doing so would be a fine of up to £10,000 or imprisonment.
In response Greenpeace has blacked out the picture, and asked the court to withdraw or reduce the scope of the interdict. It was served in July after more than 40 activists dressed as polar bears took over Cairn’s offices in an early morning raid.
“It’s just extraordinary that Cairn Energy is turning to the courts to try and use expensive and draconian legal manoeuvres, and all to stop a local Greenpeace group publishing a blog with a photograph of an activist dressed as a polar bear,” said Greenpeace polar campaigner, Vicky Wyatt.
Nothing was going right for the company whose investors were getting “jittery” because no oil had so far been found in the Arctic, she claimed. “Now they’ve dropped this silly PR howler – and all because they’re just lashing out in desperation.”
Last Wednesday, charges against protestors were dropped after one, Natasha Smith (24), was found not guilty by Sheriff Roderick MacLeod. "I'm not prepared to hold that people who have entered a building dressed in unusual costumes constitutes threatening behavior,” he said.
Cairn Energy took out the interdict against Greenpeace because it was concerned that some of the pictures or films activists took in offices might reveal personal details of employees, or commercially confidential company information.
The interdict prohibits Greenpeace from "disseminating, printing, uploading, sharing, copying or otherwise publishing any images, photographs, pictures or other material” recorded during the protest. “An interim interdict has been put in place to protect both confidential and personal information which may have been viewed or filmed in our offices,” said Linda Bain, a spokeswoman for Cairn.