French Government Forbids Massive Climate March in Wake of Terror Attacks

The decision comes after coordinated terrorist attacks rocked the city, killing 129 people.

A makeshift memorial next to the Bataclan concert hall in ParisAmr Nabil/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


After nearly a week of speculation and urgent meetings between environmental groups and security officials, the French government has finally made its decision: The giant rally planned for the eve of the UN climate summit will be canceled due to “the heightened security situation,” according to a statement issued by 350.org, the US-based environmental group.

Organizers had expected to attract around 200,000 protesters to the Paris march, which was slated to occur along with other rallies in cities around the world. The event was intended to urge leaders to sign an ambitious and binding agreement to limit global warming.

“This is a source of huge regret, but we must respect the decision. Huge numbers were expected in Paris, but those people will not be silenced,” said François Julliard, executive director of Greenpeace in France. “We will find new, imaginative ways to ensure our voices are heard in the UN conference center and beyond.”

“This is a source of huge regret, but we must respect the decision. Huge numbers were expected in Paris, but those people will not be silenced.”

In the wake of last Friday’s terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of 129 people in Paris, French authorities effectively locked down the city, shut down the country’s borders, and allowed police officers to limit crowds in public spaces—a state of emergency that French President Francois Hollande says should stay in place for three months. Overnight, the French capital remained in crisis mode as police tactical units swarmed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis, where suspected jihadists had holed up.

Environmental groups faced another setback in today’s announcement by the French government. So-called “mobilizations” scheduled for December 12, near the end of the summit—street actions that included blockades and civil disobedience—have been explicitly forbidden by the authorities.

“The government can prohibit these demonstrations, but it can not stop the mobilization and it won’t prevent us strengthening the climate movement,” wrote 350.org’s Nicolas Haeringer in an emailed statement. The situation remains in flux. Despite having no concrete plans, environmental groups are still urging people to make the trip to Paris. “Organizers are also encouraging activists to still plan on coming to Paris for the final days of the conference to make sure people, not the polluters or politicians, have the final word,” said Haeringer.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate