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Greenpeace activists face two months in custody after Russian protest

MURMANSK, Russia, Sept. 26 (UPI) --
A Russian court ruled Thursday eight Greenpeace activists, arrested in a protest at an offshore oil rig in the Arctic Ocean, could could be held until November.



Thirty people, representing 19 nationalities, were detained after Russian border guards stormed the Arctic Sunrise, a ship operated by the environmental organization Greenpeace, Sept. 19. The assault came a day after two activists scaled a drilling platform in the Pechora Sea to protest the potential impact of oil drilling on the arctic ecosystem, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.



A district court in Murmansk, on Russia's northern coast, ruled ship captain Pete Willcox, an American, and seven other activists aboard the vessel could be kept in custody until Nov. 24, Greenpeace reported.



The other activists, still detained, could be released before a retrial, Russian Investigative committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.



The 30 people aboard the Arctic Sunrise were transferred to a Murmansk detention facility after their ship was towed into the city's harbor, and are refusing to answer questions, citing their rights under the Russian constitution, the investigative Committee said.



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