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regular-article-logo Sunday, 03 March 2024

France: Police tear-gas protesters at French oil giant TotalEnergies meeting

The company's board opposes a resolution calling for a commitment to steeper absolute emissions cuts by 2030

Deutsche Welle Published 26.05.23, 04:27 PM
Police used pepper spray on the environmental activists

Police used pepper spray on the environmental activists Deutsche Welle

French riot police on Friday used tear gas and pepper spray as they clashed with climate protesters who were trying to block shareholders at oil giant TotalEnergies from going to their annual meeting.

The scuffles came as investors in the company are expected to vote on climate resolutions put forward by activist shareholders calling for faster cuts to the greenhouse gas emissions produced by TotalEnergies' oil and gas activities.

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The company's board opposes the resolutions.

Last year, protesters succeeded in preventing some shareholders from attending the meeting.

What happened at the protests?

Dozens of protesters tried at dawn to access a part of the street near the Salle Pleyel, the concert hall venue of the meeting, which was blocked off by police trucks.

Police then tear-gassed some demonstrators who managed to stage a sitting protest in front of the concert hall after they ignored three megaphone warnings to disperse.

Protesters chanted, "All we want is to knock down Total" and "One, two and three degrees, we have Total to thank." There was also a banner reading, "The science is clear but Total is ignoring it."

Some poured a black liquid resembling oil over their heads.

Shareholders were escorted through the group of demonstrators into the venue by police, but were required to leave bags at the entrance and give up their smartphones for the duration of the meeting.

Growing climate protests

The protests come as climate campaigners step up their actions against fossil-fuel companies that are widely seen as ignoring the danger posed by global warming caused by human activity.

Protesters tried to storm the stage of Shell's shareholder meeting earlier this week and also disrupted BP's AGM last month.

Scientists say greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 43% from 2019 levels by 2030 if the Paris Agreement's goal of keeping warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels is to be met.

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