Soccer hooligans.

Shutterstock / katatonia82Hooligans are known for lighting flares and brawling at soccer games. Protesting offshore drilling? Not so much.

A hooligan is a violent young troublemaker. That’s what Russian prosecutors are now calling the Greenpeace activists and the journalists who approached and in some cases scaled Russia’s first offshore Arctic oil platform last month, bringing worldwide attention to the country’s drilling plans.

The good news is that the prosecutors have finally dropped piracy charges against the activists. Those piracy allegations could have landed them in jail for up to 15 years.

The bad news: Now they’re all being charged with hooliganism, which could result in a maximum sentence of seven years.

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Greenpeace had been irate about the piracy charges and now it’s irate about the hooliganism charges. The group described them as wildly disproportionate and vowed to fight them in court. “The Arctic 30 are no more hooligans than they were pirates,” Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia said in a statement. “They are both fantasy charges that bear no relation to reality.”

The activists and journalists are being held without bail. They come from 18 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, so their arrest has triggered international denunciation, but Russia doesn’t seem to care.

Well, we’re glad to hear that Greenpeace won’t be boarding our boats any time soon, looting our gold-laden treasure chests. But we sure wouldn’t want to run into any of their activists at a European soccer game.

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