Anti-nuclear climbers defy Paris protest ban, four arrested

Robin Wood photo

Robin Wood photo

Four anti-nuclear activists defied the state of emergency ban on public protest in Paris on Wednesday, December 2, climbing up the steel cables beneath the modern Arche de la Defense to hang banners. French environmentalists joined German climbers from the action group Robin Wood in the ascent as the COP 21 climate talks were underway. They first deployed small banners reading “Don’t Nuke the Climate – Stop EPR” (referring to the latest French reactor design). Police were quickly on the scene, including 20 from a specially equipped mountain brigade in town for the event. They pursued the climbers up the cables and prevented a larger banner from unrolling which would have proclaimed “System Change, Not Climate Change!”

The four were taken into custody and charged with disrupting public order and violating the state of emergency before their release some hours later. The action was part of international “Climate Games”, a call to direct action against institutions responsible for climate change.

Their statement said:

“States gathered at the COP 21 are powerless to prevent climate catastrophe. Their interests are too intertwined with those of multinationals. For the political change needed to happen, it is for the people to put pressure on governments and companies responsible for climate change.

“Given the climate problem, a capitalist economic system based on growth can only give us false solutions: geo-engineering, carbon markets and of course nuclear. It does not get us out of the impasse. It feeds unbridled energy consumption… ‘System change’ is to refuse the colonial wars of appropriation of resources and ecosystem changes that cause desperate migration, exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions, and contribute to the nihilistic radicalization of a minority. Faced with the threat of terrorism and the draconian response of the State, it is all the more urgent to carry this message to the heart of French economic power.”

Climber Cécile Lecomte wrote:

“In the international climate debate, uncontrolled economic growth is not discussed as a key driver of climate change. Nuclear power is totally unsuitable as a remedy to destructive economic growth. Instead of focusing on risky technologies, in particular the industrialized countries are invited to take a change of system – towards a democratic, social and ecological economy that is aligned to the needs of all people. Less is more!”

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