WARSAW, Poland — Armed, masked Polish border guards boarded a Greenpeace tall ship as it was trying to block coal from being delivered to the port of Gdansk, arresting activists and seizing the vessel, the group said Tuesday.
Greenpeace said its activists had been holding a “climate emergency protest” to press Poland to phase out its heavy dependence on coal, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Poland uses coal for 80% of the energy needs of its over 37 million people, according to official statistics from 2018.
Video footage from Greenpeace showed the armed guards breaking a window to get into the captain’s bridge on the Rainbow Warrior, a tall sailing ship, and shouting that everyone should drop to the floor. The boarding occurred about 11 p.m. Monday.
Marek Jozefiak of Greenpeace said the ship’s captain and one activist remained detained Tuesday, along with the ship. Jozefiak, the coordinator of Greenpeace’s Climate and Energy campaign in Poland, expressed surprise at vehemence of the border guards’ actions against what he called a “peaceful action in defense of the environment.”