Luxembourg rallies against Faroe Islands whale hunt
Around 200 people attended a peaceful protest in Luxembourg against pilot whale hunting in the Faroe Islands and the arrest of a Luxembourg activist on Friday.
Demonstrators dressed in black filled the road in Rue JP Brasseur in front of the Royal Danish Consulate where they held banners and listened to a speech by conservation group Sea Shepherd.
“We're standing here because on July 23, 250 pilot whales were slaughtered and five of our people were taken into custody,” Sea Shepherd Luxembourg General Director Yasmine Hémès said, adding: “We're here to stand up against the Faroe Islands to stop their bloody tradition. It has to stop now!”
Among the five arrested was 23-year-old Luxembourger Kevin Schiltz, who was found guilty of disrupting the region's traditional whale hunt, known as the "Grind", in Tórshavn bay.
During the whale hunt, the three-to-six metre sea mammals are driven by a flotilla of small boats into a bay or the mouth of a fjord before being killed by hand. It is claimed that the whale meat and blubber are consumed by locals.
A Sea Shepherd volunteer, Schiltz was sentenced to an eight-day prison sentence or a fine of 5,000 kroner (670 euros), both of which he is appealing.
The Luxembourger received his passport from the authorities and was told to leave the Faroe Islands at the end of last week.
On Friday evening, he was on a 36-hour ferry crossing back to Denmark.
During the course of the day that Schiltz was arrested, 250 pilot whales were killed, giving rise to the slogan #standup250.
“That's a lot of whales to be killed in one day!” Ms Hémès said, adding that 490 pilot whales had been killed in the Faroe Islands' traditional "Grind" so far this year.
During the speeches, the leader described Schiltz as a gentle and kind person who has also served as a firefighter in Luxembourg. She claimed that Schiltz was taken into custody for telling “police that the whales were still screaming...It really is very incoherent!”
Among the 200 or so people who responded to the call to demonstrate from Sea Shepherd, the majority were not members of the conservation group.
A mother attending with two young children said: “Whether it's humans or animals or the environment. This is the way it works. People speak out. It has to be a lifestyle not to sit at home and not be interested but really to stand up. I try to teach this to our kids.”
Nadine Hoesdorff, meanwhile, said it was important for her to do what she can for different causes. “Because the earth is getting worse and worse. It's not just for the whales but for all the animals. It's becoming really atrocious.”
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