Robertson Arrested for Climbing Eiffel Tower in Protest for Burma

The prolific DWS & south west pioneer Mike Robertson has been arrested after climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Mike climbed the famous landmark to bring media exposure to the continuing plight of the monks in Burma and the support of the military regime by western companies, and more specifically the French oil company Total. 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. Mike spoke to Mick Ryan from UKClimbing explaining his decision to climb the Eiffel Tower: “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.” 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” Mike has further expressed his decision to climb the tower on the UKClimbing forums: ” (There are) plans afoot for more media coverage, watch this space. Burma does seem to have once more been left hanging by the newspapers… and that´s the reason I did it. There might be plenty of arguments for either side (some folk might even be on Total´s side, God forbid), but we all have to do what we feel we need to do. I wrote a letter to Total and got an unfavourable response, and my answer was to drive to Paris. I can´t explain it any better than that.The man you need to talk to is one Jean-Francois Lassalle. He´s the Vice President for Total Public Affairs, and you can write to him at 2 place de La Coupole, La Defense 6, 92078 Paris. So go and hound him. In response to the negative reactions – I don´t give a shit. I risked a jail term to do what I believed in. Maybe we should all do that more often.” 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 at E6 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. Source: UKClimbing