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Greenpeace protest training to take place in Charleston, Mount Pleasant this weekend

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Hundreds of people joined hands to form a line near the ocean to emphasize their opposition to offshore drilling during the eighth annual Hands Across the Sand event at Folly Beach in May. File/Staff

The next protest against the potential for oil drilling off the South Carolina coast might be on the water.

Activists for Greenpeace, the well-known international environmental advocacy group, will be in Charleston this weekend to hold two non-violent protest training sessions, one of them on kayaks.

The kayak session will focus on handling the paddled craft, lining up in formations and holding up banners, said Mary Sweeters, a Greenpeace offshore oil campaigner.

The group has used such blockage techniques in other parts of the world.

The intent of both sessions is to work with people interested in protesting oil and natural gas drilling that's proposed for offshore.

The move comes as the Trump administration has moved to open Southeast ocean waters to exploration and potential drilling for oil and natural gas reserves. Five companies have filed permit requests to investigate the deep waters, and all of them want to explore at least part of the waters off South Carolina.

Industry representatives say such exploration has been done for a half-century without any demonstrated real world harm. Controlled studies by opponents have indicated it does harm sea life as basic as lower chain vital zooplankton food organisms.

Opposition to the drilling and testing — which originated partly in South Carolina — has grown to millions of East Coast residents, more than 120 municipalities, 1,200 elected officials, 41,000 businesses and a half-million fishing families, according to petitions and surveys.

The training sessions' focus will be on how and where to conduct protests. In 2015, Greenpeace activists used kayakers and people hanging from a bridge in Portland in the symbolic blockade of a commercial Arctic oil-drilling icebreaker.

A non-violent training workshop is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at 460 King St., Suite 200. The kayak training is 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Nature Adventures, 1 Shrimp Boat Lane in Mount Pleasant. Both are free and open to the public, but space is limited and tickets are required for the kayak training.

For more information, go to the Greenpeace U.S.A. page on Facebook.

A planned Charleston stop by the group's icebreaker Arctic Sunrise this week was canceled due to docking issues and the scheduling addition of a Puerto Rico stop, according to organizers.

Reach Bo Petersen Reporter at Facebook, @bopete on Twitter or 1-843-937-5744.

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