Mike Robertson Arrested As He Climbs The Eiffel Tower For Burma

by Mick Ryan The arrest (click to enlarge) Mike Robertson (45) of Wareham, Dorset, the deep-water soloist, photographer and recent Banff award-winning author of Deep Water was arrested on Monday whilst climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Mike was protesting against Total´s – the French oil company, based in Paris – continued involvement in Burma, despite the elected Prime Minister and leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar (Burma), Aung San Suu Kyi´s wishes that they leave, along with any other company or country that lines the ruling General´s pockets.Mike, wearing a chalk bag, mountain biking gloves and climbing shoes made it to 720ft, 300 or so feet short of the top of the tower at 986 ft.There is a possible jail term of up to 5 years for an ascent of this historic monument. Mike was handcuffed and taken to the police station, but was released after about 3 hours and a lot of questions. I spoke to Mike by mobile after he left the cells and was in a taxi in Paris, still wearing his rock shoes and chalk bag. He told us the reasons for this protest and the climb. “The situation in Burma is dire; the beatings and deaths continue. Aung San Suu Kyi, is still under house arrest, and there´s currently a news blackout, mainly due to the cutting of all communications and phone lines by the Generals. I climbed the Eiffel Tower to help draw more attention to the atrocities and the pro-democracy movement in Burma. I was gripped the night before the climb; nervous and had the shakes but once I actually started climbing I got into a rhythm and really enjoyed the climbing.” PHOTOS: See photo of Mike climbing the Eiffel Tower here and his arrest here “I wore a shirt with ´Total leave Burma´ on it. The climbing was mostly OK, with a big – English 5b -overhang at around 280ft, pulling out on a flimsy riveted-on aluminium feature. I tied a red scarf – the colour of the Monk´s attire in Burma – on the lower arch, at about 230ft. I skirted the second overhang at 460ft on the inside, by way of the lift shaft and various cubbyholes – this to hide from the police, and got on the upper section without being caught, which goes from 460ft up to the top, at 1000ft. I was arrested at around 720ft, where I felt it prudent to ´come quietly´, especially in view of a possible jail term” PHOTO: See a photo of Mike at the lower crux here Climbers have long made protests on visible public structures. Another climber, Ed Drummond made the first social-political climb of Nelson´s Column, Trafalgar Square, London, in 1979, for the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He used aid. In 1995 Johnny Dawes free climbed Nelson´s Column atE6 6b 5a with Noel Craine, Jerry Moffat and Simon Nadin. The protest this time was on behalf of Survival International to publicise the plight of Canada´s Inuit people. In 2004 Alain Robert, known in the media as Spider Man, climbed the 614-foot headquarters of the French oil company Total, outside Paris, whilst wearing a Spider-Man costume to protest against the invasion of Iraq.