Thirteen Greenpeace activists were arrested while protesting outside the French Embassy in New Delhi Tuesday against France's decision to send a decommissioned battleship allegedly containing toxic wastes to India to be broken up for scrap.
The activists held a demonstration outside the embassy in the high-security Chankyapuri area to protest against the French government's decision to send military aircraft carrier Clemenceau to a ship-breaking yard in Alang on the coast of Gujarat.
Greenpeace activists claimed the ship was loaded with hundreds of tonnes of toxic wastes, including 500 tonnes of asbestos alone, and it was a violation of international convetions on trade of hazardous materials.
The French government maintain that it has removed most of the asbestos from the ship and now only an estimated 40-50 tonnes remain on board.
Decks were cleared for the ship's travel to India after the French government successfully convinced administrative courts that the ship was not a "hazardous waste" as long as it was floating in the sea, hence not violating the Basel Convention which bans trade in hazardous materials.
The court then quashed a legal suit filed against the French government on December 30 paving the way for the ageing aircraft carrier's departure from Toulon military harbour in France.
The protesting greenpeace activists, including women, also held an hour-long discussion with French Ambassador to India Dominique Girard on the issue.
The arrested were released later.