Activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the "Paddle in Seattle" protest on May 16, 2015, in Seattle.
Martha Bellisle—AP
May 17, 2015 12:59 PM EDT

Hundreds of kayakers gathered in the waters of Seattle’s Elliott Bay on Saturday to protest Shell’s plans to begin Arctic drilling this summer.

The group that planned the event, called the “Paddle in Seattle,” said Saturday’s demonstration began a three-day “massive peaceful resistance,” the Associated Press reports. Protesters of all ages, on land and in the water, carried signs with phrases like “Climate Justice” and ”Shell No, Seattle Draws The Line.” On Monday, the group plans to block access to the oil giant’s rig parked in the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 and delay preparations for drilling.

Environmental activists argue that Shell’s drilling plans in the Arctic pose a threat to local wildlife and will contribute to dependence on fossil fuels. They also cite the company’s failed attempt to drill in 2012 as evidence that Shell would not be able to respond adequately to a large-scale oil spill.

Shell received permission from the federal government to begin oil drilling in the Arctic last week, but the company still faces hurdles from other government agencies. For one, the mayor of Seattle tried to block the company from docking its rig in the city’s port.


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