On the hottest day ever recorded in France, climate protesters staged a peaceful protest and were met with a ferocious police presence.
Demanding that the French government declare a climate emergency and take immediate action to address global warming, climate activists staged a sit-in on a bridge over the river Seine in Paris. As the group sat on the ground on the bridge, police arrived and used tear-gas on them before attempting to forcefully remove them.
Several videos posted across social media and news sites captured the altercation:
Temperatures reached nearly 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Southern France on Friday, one degree higher than the previous record from 2003. Paris reached a high of 93 degrees.
The protest was organized by the Extinction Rebellion, a peaceful climate justice organization. On the call to action for the event on their website they state:
On June 28 in the morning and for the whole day, we will occupy a bridge of Paris. Come many!
On the bridge, we will dance, we will sing, we will learn, we will discuss, we will train … On the bridge, we will rebel!
Because the ecological and human disaster is at work and we must oppose it without delay.
Furthermore the group states:
- We are non-violent. The consensus of this action is: no attack on the physical and moral integrity of individuals, no material degradation.
- We are determined. Because for decades the legal means have failed to bring about the necessary change, non-violent civic disobedience can lead to mobilizing a significant part of the population to change the rules of the game and defend the general interest. We do not take the personal and collective risks associated with this strategy cheerfully, but we consider our rebellion both legitimate and indispensable.
- We no longer ask for change, we will be this change.
Although French President Emmanuel Macron has shown some commitment to addressing global warming, including refusing to sign a joint statement from the G-20 meeting if it did not address climate change, environmental groups have grown frustrated at what they view are empty promises.