Black Blocs and Violence Darken March for the Climate in Paris

General News
Participants in the march for the climate in Paris, September 21, 2019

The March for the climate in Paris mobilized on Saturday, 15 000 people but this demonstration was parasitized by violence: 120 people were placed in custody.

The March for the climate in Paris mobilized Saturday 21st, September 2019 15,000 people but this event was parasitized by violence: black blocs have mingled with the procession and incidents have erupted with law enforcement, massively mobilized.

Broken windows, degraded bank, burned barricades of fortune … violence broke out from the beginning of the march at 2.30pm. Some 1,000 “radical” protesters were reported by the police headquarters (PP), while a new act of mobilization of “yellow vests” was also held Saturday in Paris.

At 8pm, 120 people were in custody. Among them, a police captain stationed at the Ministry of the Interior, according to a judicial source confirming information from the Point. Off Saturday, he was placed in custody for contempt and rebellion.

The festive atmosphere in Bastille

After a moment of confusion due to the violence, which made hundreds of protesters go back to the starting point, the Jardin du Luxembourg, the procession finally arrived in the Bercy district at the end of the afternoon.

In the evening, several hundred people formed a new procession, undeclared, to go to Place de la Bastille, where they arrived shortly before 9pm.

They demonstrated in a festive atmosphere dancing to the sound of songs installed on two trucks, before dispersing quietly. Many of these green protesters wore yellow vests.

Meanwhile, on the Champs-Elysees, small groups formed on the top of the avenue, repelled by the regular fire of tear gas from the police to disperse them.

#On the bridge

Before taking the path to the Bastille, environmental activists blocked the Tolbiac bridge and a pedestrian bridge in the late afternoon, deploying banners. On one of them, one could read, in English, “Macron, polluter of the Earth”.

“At 5 days of the debates on the bill of finance in the National Assembly, we are #SurlePont to demand means up to the climatic urgency,” tweeted the NGO ANV-COP21.

Earlier this afternoon, the NGO denounced “police violence”.

45 minutes after the start, the police have unceremoniously projected several grenades of disencumberment in the procession. The protesters had to back down, they are stunned, in shock

“The prefecture has done everything to hinder the right to demonstrate,” then accused Greenpeace.

The police prefecture asserted that all the decisions had been taken “in agreement with the organizers”.

“It’s a bit like May 1, a peaceful demonstration infiltrated by radicals. We had to treat them quickly so that the demonstration takes place and that the black bloc does not take control, “it was argued to the prefecture, which had mobilized some 7500 members of the police.

Calls to calm

The march was peppered with incidents between the black blocks and the police, with throwing projectiles of black block militants on the police and firing tear gas, forcing some of the walkers to turn back.

Violence during the March for the climate, September 21, 2019 in Paris
Violence during the March for the climate, September 21, 2019 in Paris. (© AFP / Zakaria ABDELKAFI)

According to an AFP journalist, the police used on Boulevard Saint-Michel defensive bullet launchers (LBD), a controversial weapon responsible for many injuries in previous demonstrations of “yellow vests”.

Before the beginning of the climate walk, the organizers had called for calm.

“Everyone is welcome. We do not oppose climate justice and social justice, we must respect the consensus of non-violent action”

Calls had multiplied for a “convergence of struggles” between “yellow vests” and pro-climate activists.

For the first time, for this act 45 of the “yellow vests”, most demonstrators claiming this social movement born November 17, 2018 did not wear their fluo chasuble, hitherto unavoidable in their processions.

Climate protesters responded to the call of many NGOs in the aftermath of a “global climate strike”.

Other marches took place in France, generally in calm. In Lyon, about 5000 people gathered, according to the Rhône prefecture. In Strasbourg, they were 3600, according to the police.

In total, NGOs claim more than 150,000 protesters throughout France.

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