Damon and Jude call for activists' release
Actor Jude Law and musician Damon Albarn joined relatives of two Devonians to condemn charges of piracy against 30 Greenpeace activists following an Arctic oil rig protest.
The families of former Times journalist Kieron Bryan and Alexandra Harris joined both men, along with Paul Simonon of The Clash, and around 800 others, in the vigil in central London.
The protest was one of several being held across Britain and in 47 countries in support of 30 people, including six Britons, who are now in Russian custody.
The Russian coastguard seized the ship Arctic Sunrise and everyone on board following the September 18 protest at the offshore platform owned by Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom in the Pechora Sea.
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The activists are now in custody in the northern city of Murmansk
Mr Bryan's mother, Ann, said: "I am sick with worry; at least a protest like this makes me feel like we are not alone.
"None of the 30 should be facing that charge. Kieron was just doing his job.
Mr Bryan's father, Andy, said: "We do not want this attention to go away. We are coping with this day-by-day.
Ms Harris's sister, Georgina, said she had received an e-mail from her sibling saying she was safe and warm and urging her not to worry.
Ms Harris said her sister seemed "emotional" and added: "It is hard not to worry considering everything that is going on. I am trying to stay positive but this is disgusting."
Law and Albarn, who are both friends with one of the detainees Frank Hewetson said the arrests were an international disgrace and a personal blow.
Law, whose children went to school with Mr Hewetson's, said: "I am just adding my face and body to the mass of support. The fact that there is a threat of conviction did not put them off.
"What is ludicrous is that they have been charged with piracy which has a threat of 15 years in prison. Of course I am worried about Frank because I care about his family and I care about him but I know that he is incredibly durable.
"I think that it is very interesting that the people over there probably knew there would be an arrest involved and the threat of a conviction is probably part and parcel of the act of drawing attention to the drilling in the Arctic which we all know is an international problem which needs confronting."
Protesters stood quietly behind banners declaring "Free the Climate Defenders";, "Journalist and Not Pirate"; and "Free The Arctic 30".
To charge them with piracy is "ridiculous", Albarn said.
"It does seem to be a slightly different idea in Russia's collective head about what activism actually represents. Nine times out of 10 people who protest peacefully, whether it is through music or through trying to scale oil rigs, are doing it because they believe they are saying something that will ultimately benefit society as a whole.
"You have to remember that when the Russian government talks with this kind of rhetoric, it is actually being anti-humanitarian.
"And that is a shame because we put people in power to look after us presumably, but unfortunately rarely do they."