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Seattle councilman among anti-Shell kayak protesters

A flotilla of protesters in kayaks greet oil drills as they arrive in Port Angeles on April 17. (AP)

A Seattle city councilman is among the crowds preparing to protest in kayaks as Shell oil rigs arrive in Elliott Bay.

“If there’s going to be a direct action on the water, if Shell Oil comes or goes, I think it’s a real opportunity,” Councilman Mike O’Brien told KING 5 recently. “It’s something that I want to be part of.”

O’Brien was among a crowd of activists in kayaks, or kayaktivists, practicing maneuvers in Elliott Bay over the weekend, KING 5 reported.

The activists are opposed to the mooring of various oil drills, owned Shell Oil Company, in Seattle’s waters. Shell has a lease with the Port of Seattle to store its drills in Elliott Bay for the summer.

Protesters with sHellNO.org are planning protests in kayaks on May 16. On May 18, the group is planning a “mass direct action” event aimed to use nonviolent action to stop Shell’s operations in the Arctic, according to its website.

Protesters are asking the Port of Seattle to cancel its lease with Shell. They argue that the drilling is dangerous and harmful to the environment.

Shell’s Polar Pioneer Arctic oil drilling rig is currently docked in Port Angeles. It is preparing to make the final leg of its trip to Seattle, where it will spend the summer season before heading back to the arctic to drill off the north coast of Alaska.

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