Greenpeace: Picasso on the beach
Monday 19th January, 2004: Over a thousand people gathered this weekend on South Beach, Miami to create a massive 'human art' image in creative protest against the unprecedented prosecution of Greenpeace by the Bush Administration.
Supporters of the international environmental organization gathered Saturday afternoon in support of the 'Endangered Forests, Endangered Freedom' campaign, replicating the 1950s Picasso work of art, of a dove flying past a jailed man.
The event, the largest of its scale to take place in the Miami area, comes as Greenpeace faces a serious federal indictment in South Florida, following a protest against the importation of illegal mahogany from the Brazilian Amazon in April 2002. Activists boarded the timber ship as part of our on-going campaign to save the world's ancient forests from destructive logging, work that continues despite the extraordinary prosecution.
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The federal government has levelled charges under an obscure 1872 law originally intended to prevent "sailor-mongering"; a law only enacted twice since entering into force, most recently in 1890. The indictment has drawn criticism from many quarters -- from negative ink in the Washington Times to criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and Al Gore -- and accusations that the Bush administration seeks to silence us and our vocal criticisms of the administration's environmental policies.
"This is a chance for the people of Miami to show their support for Greenpeace, and to creatively protest the Bush administration's decision to silence its critics," said Ginger Cassady, Greenpeace campaigner in Miami.
"The hundreds of people gathered here today represent the desire of people all across the world who are willing to take a stand for the world's forests and for the right of citizens and Greenpeace alike to peacefully protest," affirmed Cassady.
Picasso created the image as an appeal for amnesty for Spaniards who were persecuted under the Franco regime.
-- Suzette Jackson Communications Officer