LONDON – Greenpeace activists released following an amnesty over their protest in the Russian Arctic say they aren’t giving up the fight.

As members of the 30-strong Greenpeace crew arrested for protesting outside an oil rig arrived home from Russia, messages of defiance poured forth in interviews and statements released by local branches of the environmental group.

“Absurd theater,” was how Danish activist Anne Mie Roer Jensen described the roughly 100-day experience in Russia, promising more action to protect the far north from energy extraction. “The fight against the oil drilling in the Arctic has only just begun.”

The crew members were detained in September and charged with piracy after some of them aboard the Arctic Sunrise boat attempted to scale an offshore drilling platform owned by Russia’s state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom.

Those allegations were later downgraded to hooliganism before being dropped altogether following the passage of an amnesty law widely interpreted as an attempt by Moscow to temper foreign criticism of Russia’s human rights record before the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia, in February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has questioned the Greenpeace protesters intentions to protect the Arctic and alleged that they were trying to hurt Russia’s economic interests. He said earlier this month that he did not mind that charges against the team were dropped under the amnesty, but that he hoped that “this will not happen again.”

Briton Anthony Perret, the first to be released, told the BBC the ordeal was “definitely worth it.”

“It’s good to be back and speaking English,” said Perrett, with a relieved smile. Jail conditions were difficult, he said: “Deep snow, locked in a cell for 23 hours a day … but it’s been worth it.”

The five Britons arrived in London’s St. Pancras station on the Eurostar train from Paris and were greeted by a media crowd as well as family, friends and well-wishers.

Perrett, Harris, Phil Ball, Iain Rogers and freelance videographer Kieron Bryan chatted with reporters and posed happily for photos before joining their families for long-awaited trips home.

The piracy charges were “absurd,” said Perrett, 32, who described his concern at the lack of visible justice in Russia. “There were some farcical moments,” he said. “You were in a courtroom but no one asked any questions.” He said he remained uncertain of his ultimate fate “until the (airplane) wheels hit the ground” as they arrived in France.

British Minister for Europe David Lidington said Friday that he was “delighted” at the release of the British activists., adding: “I am also pleased that two members of Pussy Riot and a number of the Bolotnaya protesters have been released.”

He was referring to the amnesty granted in the last week to two members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot and to opposition activists who were arrested during massive anti-Putin protests in May 2012.

Perrett said the members of the group would not stop their activism. “It was absolutely worth it in our campaign to save the Arctic,” he said – but added that he would consider “different tactics and techniques.”

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