Pictures of discontent

World | 9 Dec 2019

French environmental activists brandished stolen portraits of President Emmanuel Macron at a protest yesterday near the Eiffel Tower to try to push the government to do more to fight climate change.

The protest is part of an unusual climate movement that has taken root around France this year, in which activists have stolen more than 130 portraits of Macron from town halls from the Alps to the Atlantic.

They feel the centrist, business-friendly Macron isn't doing enough to reduce France's emissions, even though he portrays himself on the global stage as Mr Climate.

The activists brought the portraits to yesterday's protest - carrying them upside down to show what they consider Macron's hypocrisy - to call for bolder government action at the climate talks under way in Madrid. They are notably angry that France has lagged on its international commitments to increase use of solar and wind energy and reduce emissions. Meanwhile, the government said it would see through planned pension reforms but said the new system that has sparked nationwide strikes would be introduced gradually and public concerns would be addressed.

Transport systems were paralyzed for a fourth day yesterday as unions at state railway SNCF and Paris public transport system RATP extended their strike against the changes.


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