24 Activists Under House Arrest on Eve of UN Climate Talks
French authorities have placed 24 climate activists house arrest on the eve of the UN climate summit in Paris, prompting activist and author Naomi Klein to accuse police of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.
The activists were believed to have disregarded a ban on organized protests during the summit, imposed by the French government following the terrorist attacks in Paris November 13.
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“Climate summits are not photo opportunities to boost the popularity of politicians,” Klein told the Guardian. “Given the stakes of the climate crisis, they are by their nature highly contested. That is democracy, messy as it may be. The French government, under cover of anti-terrorism laws, seems to be trying to avoid this, shamefully banning peaceful demonstrations and using emergency powers to pre-emptively detain key activists.”
“I feel angry about it because I think they made a big mistake,” said legal activist Joel Domenjoud, who reported that he was wrongly identified in a restraining order as a “principal leader of the ultra-left movement”. “They weren’t looking for people like us activists—or if they were, it shows that they can target people for no reason at all and our civil liberties are in danger.”
Neslen writes that thousands of activists have vowed to defy the ban on protests during the summit.