Greenpeace Activists Damage Peru’s Nazca Lines – Truth!

Greenpeace Activists Damage Peru’s Nazca Lines – Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

Environmental activists working on behalf of Greenpeace damaged the centuries–old Nazca lines in Peru in an effort to drum up publicity for climate change.

The Truth:

It’s true that Greenpeace activists damaged Peru’s Nazca lines.

The Nazca lines are geolyphs, or large images, of creatures, plants and geometric patterns that were etched into the coastal plains of Peru between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. The geolyphs are only entirely visible from overhead.

Greenpeace activists entered a “strictly prohibited” area beside a hummingbird geolyph and laid large yellow cloth letters that said: “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable. Greenpeace.” The message was aimed at delegates who were traveling to Lima for climate talks in early December of 2014, the Guardian reports:

“It’s a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred,” said Luis Jaime Castillo, the deputy culture minister, after the action by the environmental group on Monday, at the famed drawings etched into Peru’s coastal desert, a UN world heritage site.

He said the government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country while it asks prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

Archaeologists wear large pads on their feet when they enter the site to avoid disturbing the fragile ground. The 20 Greenpeace activists, however, didn’t wear protective footwear and their path in and out of the site is visible from overhead. Drone footage also showed that the imprint of the letter “C” could still be seen on the ground near the hummingbird from overhead, PBS reports.

A Greenpeace spokesperson issued and apology for the publicity stunt, the Guardian reports:

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “Without reservation Greenpeace apologizes to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca lines. We are deeply sorry for this.

“Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.”

Peruvian officials appeared ready to pursue criminal charges against the activists. The government has asked Greenpeace to turn over a list of the activists who participated in the publicity stunt and will seek extradition, the Wall Street Journal reports:

The government says it has already started legal proceedings or will do so shortly against three individuals that they have been able to identify, saying they are two Argentine citizens and a Colombian.

None of the activists who took part in the action are currently in Peru, a government official said. The government wants the activists to be held while legal charges proceed.

Ms. Alvarez-Calderon said the government will take its legal complaints to international courts if the legal proceedings fail in Peru.