Greenpeace invades National Assembly

Environmental campaign group's protest interrupts climate change debate before parliament building evacuated

3 December 2009

PROTESTORS from Greenpeace brought chaos to the National Assembly yesterday, interrupting a debate on climate change and prompting the whole building to be evacuated.

About a dozen campaigners in the public gallery interrupted Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo's speech ahead of next weeks's UN climate change summit in Copenhagen.

They took off jackets to reveal Greenpeace T-shirts and attempted to roll out a number of banners with the message: "Take action, Mr President" but were quickly restrained.

One campaigner started to scale down the side of the chamber towards the MPs, but was stopped and taken away by police.

Green MPs Noël Mamère and Yves Cochet applauded the interruption - a reaction that angered other MPs.

A heated argument broke out, but the Greens denied that they were responsible for giving the public gallery tickets to the campaigners.

The Assembly was later evacuated for about an hour following a bomb alert, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Assembly president Bernard Accoyer said he had lodged a formal complaint against the campaigners.

Earlier in the day, a number of Greenpeace campaigners made it on to the roof of the National Assembly using a fire engine ladder before they were dragged down by police.

In a press release, Greenpeace said it wanted to remind Nicolas Sarkozy of his promise to cut emissions by 40% before 2020 and give €4.2bn a year to help developing countries.

Photo: National Assembly by David Monniaux

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