Greenpeace International is being sued by Royal Dutch Shell PLC so that Greenpeace can be banned from holding protests within 500 meters of Shell properties or face a fine of $1.3 million. The lawsuit is being argued in Amsterdam’s District Court as Shell aims to protect its $4.5 billion investment it made in drilling for oil in the waters off the coast of Alaska. The Shell headquarters are located in The Hague, Netherlands. Greenpeace is located in Amsterdam.
According to the lawyers for Shell, laws on freedom of speech and assembly internationally “do not grant Greenpeace unlimited powers to carry out protests that violate the rights of other parties.” Shell has requested that the protest ban begin immediately and stay in effect for at least six months. According to Aaron Gray-Block, a spokesperson for Greenpeace, the case is limited to the Netherlands. Greenpeace described the move as a “legal sledgehammer to stifle public discourse.”
“Because Greenpeace International doesn’t operate alone, but is the spider in the web of national and local organizations, our request includes that Greenpeace inform its satellite organizations that it no longer supports protests that are solely directed at causing Shell economic damage or that bring human lives and the environment in danger,” Shell’s complaint said.