Paris climate march disrupted by ‘radical’ protesters: police – POLITICO
Paris police said Saturday a climate march in the city had been disrupted by a group of 1,000 “violent individuals” and “radical” protesters.
“A black bloc is being formed inside the climate march. Please disengage from the violent groups and let police intervene,” Paris police said on Twitter, adding that its intervention would involve the use of tear gas.
According to AFP, police also used controversial non-lethal weapons known as lanceurs de balles de défense — or, more commonly, LBDs — which have drawn strong criticism from human rights groups.
“Brutalities (not by climate activists) occurred at the front of the procession. Following tear gas the march has halted,” Greenpeace France tweeted, before adding: “Take no risk and leave the climate march.”
Authorities were braced for violence on Saturday as several marches were set to coincide in the French capital, with some 7,500 police officers mobilized.
A planned march for “climate and social justice” and a separate demonstration against French President Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension reforms both went ahead Saturday, as well as protests by the anti-establishment Yellow Jacket movement, whose members have been demonstrating across France every week since last November.
Paris police later tweeted the march could “peacefully resume its course,” following a successful intervention against violent protesters. But shortly after, police announced another intervention. By 5 p.m., police said it had arrested over 300 people outside of areas where protests were sanctioned. It questioned more than 150 protesters and kept 90 in custody.
The French climate protest comes after millions of people took to the streets in cities around the world on Friday to call for action against climate change, in what has been dubbed the largest climate protest ever. The demonstrations, led by youth activists, are set to continue for a week and come ahead of Monday’s U.N. climate summit in New York.