Journalists, community elders, woman and children were among the 25 arrested at a community forum on gas flaring at Iwherekan community, Delta state, Nigeria.
The arrests were made by Nigerian soldiers this Tuesday who held the detainees for five hours before releasing them.
The Iwherekan community is blighted by gas-flaring as a result of oil extraction by Shell.
Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) are demanding an apology from the military and Shell who work in the area.
Nnimmo Bassey, executive director of ERA/FoEN, said: "We are shocked that this kind of reckless display of crude force which we thought had died and been buried with the military junta of General Sani Abacha has suddenly resurrected under the Yar' Adua administration. Why is the government colluding with oil companies to shield the world from knowing the impact of gas flaring on the lives of Niger Delta people?"
Those arrested included Jonah Gbemre, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against gas flaring, Comrade Che Ibegura, a member of the Host Communities Network, and Chima Williams, ERA/FoEN project officer.
Nigeria is the world's largest flarer of gas from oil extraction. The flares contribute more greenhouse gases than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined.
Read an interview with the filmmaker of Poison Fire
See the film below and find out more at the Poison Fire website
This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2008