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Finnish Greenpeace activist second in Guardian's 'person of the year' list

YLE NewsEye on the Arctic

Finnish Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela has finished second in the Guardian newspaper’s online "Person of the Year" poll.

US whistleblower Edward Snowden topped the poll for his work in exposing online surveillance by US intelligence agencies.

Sini Saarela was arrested in September when she tried to board a Gazprom drilling platform in the Arctic ocean. She spent nearly two months in Russian prisons before she was released on bail along with 29 other Greenpeace activists who became known as the “Arctic 30”.

During their detention they were the subject of a global campaign to highlight the risk of natural resource exploitation in polar regions. The Guardian nominated Saarela and her fellow activist Marco Weber for their efforts to attach themselves to the drilling platform.

They lost out to Snowden in the final voting, with 1,445 people voting for the former NSA contractor. Saarela and Weber got 314 votes, while Pope Frances took 153 votes to finish third.

One voter defended his choice of Saarela and Weber by arguing they took even greater risks than Snowden.

“Facing jail, as Snowden does, for defending privacy is one thing,” wrote “CaptainGrey.” “Facing injury or even death for defending the planet, as Greenpeace activists often do, is another entirely.”

The results of the poll were published first in Finland by MTV3.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.