MOSCOW, September 24 – RAPSI. Shell Royal Dutch PLC expects a ruling on its claim for an injunction against Greenpeace - whose polar-bear costume clad activists shut down a number of Shell gas stations throughout the Netherlands earlier this month - to be handed down next Friday October 5, according to a statement sent by Shell to RAPSI Monday morning.

Shell expects Greenpeace to contain itself in the meantime, stating that, “Until [the verdict is handed down] the agreement between Greenpeace and Shell remains that Greenpeace will not carry out disruptive activity at petrol stations that could prevent or disturb customers from fuelling their vehicles.”

On September 14 activists associated with Greenpeace’s Netherlands faction, many of them dressed as polar bears, took to their local Shell stations in a coordinated effort to obstruct consumer access to gas pumps. According to Greenpeace, they were, “protesting against Shell’s reckless Arctic drilling plans.”

Arguing that the Shell injunction impinges upon the freedom of expression rights of Greenpeace activists and supporters alike, the organization urged that: “This matters – not only to Greenpeace's right to protest, but also yours… If you’ve signed a petition against Shell, if you asked for protection for the Arctic – that’s you. It means your right to protest, your freedom of expression is on the line.”

Speaking to the matter, the Shell spokesperson countered, “Recent actions by Greenpeace such as the ones on Friday 14 September at a number of our retail sites, in our view have gone well beyond the limits of acceptable protest. Whether we’re drilling a well in Alaska or running a petrol station in the Netherlands, maintaining the safety and integrity of these assets is our top priority.”

The spokesperson added, “Shell continues to respect the legitimate right of people to peacefully protest against the activities we undertake to ensure the world's energy needs are met.”

Shell listed Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Netherlands as defendants in the case. According to Greenpeace, the complaint requests that the judge “forbid defendants… to organise any activities, at least illegal activities, on or within 500m of any [Shell petrol stations], offices and other commercial properties and/or terrains of Shell in the Netherlands, or forbid defendants for a period of six months after delivery of this judgment to render impossible, prevent or interfere with the free and unhindered use of plaintiffs of the [Shell petrol stations], and/or its (office)buildings and/or its other commercial properties and/or terrains owned by, rented or otherwise in use by Shell, or to incite their employees, hired third parties or their sympathisers to do so.”

Shell seeks the imposition of a 1 million Euro penalty in the case of violation, with an additional 100,000 Euro penalty added for each day or part thereof that the violation endures.