France's oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard in caged protest for Greenpeace activists in Russia
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
French actress Marion Cotillard (C) poses as she stands in a cage with Greenpeace activists on Nov.15 in Paris. AFP photoOscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard briefly caged herself near Paris's Louvre museum to demand the freeing of 30 Greenpeace activists jailed in Russia over an Arctic protest.
Cotillard, the star of the acclaimed 2007 film "La Vie en Rose" on French singer Edith Piaf, entered the cage and held a banner proclaiming: "I am a climate defender." She joined Greenpeace activists all dressed in red.
"There are people who have the courage to defend our planet and who put themselves into great trouble," she said, calling the detention "absolutely absurd and crazy". The symbolic protest was staged in the heart of Paris at the Palais Royal complex, where the state theatre Comedie Francaise is located.
Several serving and former ministers and celebrities from the world of arts showed up to express their support.
The so-called "Arctic 30" were detained when the Russian Coast Guard boarded their Dutch-flagged Greenpeace vessel after several activists scaled a state-owned oil platform on September 18 in a protest.
Russia has since put the 30 people in prisons in Saint Petersburg pending trial after moving them from the Arctic Circle city of Murmansk.
Russia's Investigative Committee said last month it was softening the charges against the crewmembers - including Gizem Akhan from Turkey - from piracy to hooliganism, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years. But Greenpeace says the piracy charge was never formally lifted.
Madonna calls for release of Greenpeace activists
Pop legend Madonna has also joined a chorus of international stars in urging the release of 30 Greenpeace crewmembers.
"These 30 people are in prison in Russia for staging a peaceful protest in the Arctic! Let your voice be heard. Let's bring these people home!" Madonna wrote in a message posted by Greenpeace on Twitter late Nov. 15.
She spoke out after former Beatle Paul McCartney on Nov. 14 published a letter to President Vladimir Putin saying he hoped the activists could be home for Christmas.
Madonna has previously used Russian concert performances to speak out on politics.
At a concert in Moscow last year she called for the release of Pussy Riot bandmembers who are now serving a two-year jail term for a protest against Putin. She also gave fans pink ribbons at a concert in Saint Petersburg to express her opposition to controversial legislation banning "propaganda" of homosexuality to minors.