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5 Oct, 2019 19:01

Police PEACEFULLY confront eco-activists occupying Paris shopping mall

Police PEACEFULLY confront eco-activists occupying Paris shopping mall

Police trying to force their way into the Paris shopping mall occupied by Extinction Rebellion activists and the Yellow Vests met a human wall of protesters. No tear gas was used, however, and the protesters were allowed to leave.

The environmental activists, associated with the Extinction Rebellion movement (XR), had seized the Italie Deux mall in the 13th arrondissement of the French capital since Saturday morning.

Police PEACEFULLY confront eco-activists occupying Paris shopping mall

Barricading themselves inside, they aimed to disrupt commerce and bring attention to what they see as the impending catastrophe of climate change.

By around 9pm local time, several masked officers used hydraulic pistons to force-open steel shutters that the protesters used as barricades, and approached the mesh fence behind the barrier with bolt cutters.

Police PEACEFULLY confront eco-activists occupying Paris shopping mall

Behind the barrier, crowds of activists packed together into a human wall, hoisting a banner reading “Radical Ecology. Death to Capitalism.”

At one point, officers attempting to enter through a small side door were pushed back by protesters armed with mall furniture. Unable to enter, the officers doused the crowd in pepper spray and threw back projectiles.

The occupation seemed to have been inspired by the Hong Kong protesters, who have made malls the main stage for the display of their dissent. Another shopping center was occupied in Bordeaux in the southwest of the country as the protesters announced a two-week-long action, targeting the “symbols of capitalism.”

Among the eco-warriors were several ‘Yellow Vests’ demonstrators, whose own campaign against the government of President Emmanuel Macron has seen the streets of Paris and other French cities flooded with activists every weekend for the better part of a year.

However, while the Yellow Vests’ protests have regularly met heavily armed riot police firing tear gas and maiming participants with sub-lethal munitions, the eco-warriors seemed to be having an easier time, with the streets outside the mall gas-free and the police letting the participants leave peacefully and at a leisurely pace.

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