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'Xena' star Lucy Lawless charged with burglary after ship occupation in New Zealand

Xena: Warrior Princess" star turned eco-champion Lucy Lawless and her fellow Greenpeace protesters were charged with burglary Monday after illegally occupying a Shell oil exploration ship, press.co.nz reported.

Police boarded the Arctic-bound ship in New Zealand's Taranaki port and climbed its drilling derrick on Monday morning to speak with the New Zealander actress and five other protesters, then arrested them.

A police spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires earlier, "The protesters are all under arrest. They are making their own way back down the tower, which will take some time. Once they are on the ground they will be taken into our custody and decisions will be made in relation to charges."

Lawless had tweeted on behalf of environmental campaign group Greenpeace just before the arrest, "We stand in solidarity with all who love the earth - let's #SavetheArctic from @shell !"

Earlier in the protest she said she was not worried about the prospect of arrest, telling AFP, "That's the least of my concerns."

Greenpeace said on Monday more than 133,000 people had emailed Shell asking it to stay out of the Arctic and to protect its biodiversity.

The activists boarded the Noble Discover on Friday morning while it was berthed at Taranaki. They climbed its 174ft (53m) drilling derrick and hung banners as they remained aloft despite windy conditions.

Lawless, 43, and five others had remained on the ship Sunday after fellow protester Ilai Amir left the previous day and was arrested. Lawless had hinted as to future legal trouble for the rest of the group when she said on Twitter, "Every moment we are being filmed. For legals?"

The actress tweeted early Sunday, "Loud music over speakers about 1:30am. They starting to go Guantanamo on our ass?" She added, "I found last night [Saturday] pretty darn scary. Not for sissies," and said the group had a bright light shone on them through the night.

Shell spokeswoman Shona Geary denied that music and lights were used to disturb the protesters' sleep, telling the New Zealand Herald, "It appears that last night [Saturday] the protesters disabled the light at the top of the drill tower. These lights are there for safety reasons. A spotlight was used instead to light up the mast to help ensure the group were safe during crane and other nighttime operations."

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