Paris climate activists kick off global Extinction Rebellion protests

A yellow vest stands as protesters stay inside the Italie Deux shopping mall in Paris on Saturday, October 5, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2019

Paris climate activists kick off global Extinction Rebellion protests

  • Campaigners faced off against police and some inconvenienced shoppers as they occupied part of the Italie 2 mall in southeast Paris

PARIS: Hundreds of climate activists barricaded themselves into a Paris shopping center for hours ahead of a planned series of protests around the world by the Extinction Rebellion movement.
Campaigners faced off against police and some inconvenienced shoppers as they occupied part of the Italie 2 mall in southeast Paris all day on Saturday, staying put into the early hours of Sunday.
They unfurled banners with slogans like “Burn capitalism not petrol” above restaurants and the window displays of fashion boutiques.
The protest comes ahead of planned disruption to 60 cities around the world from Monday in a fortnight of civil disobedience, from Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is warning of an environmental “apocalypse.”
As the center tried to close up on Saturday evening, security forces ordered the protesters to leave the area, activists said.
According to images broadcast on social networks, police then tried to enter the building while protesters blocked entrances with tables and chairs.
“I am with XR to say stop this crazy system before it destroys everything,” one young woman said, giving only her first name Lucie.
The demonstrators said they eventually chose to leave at around 4a.m. (0200 GMT).
Other campaign groups also joined in with the Paris shopping center demonstration, including some members of the “yellow vest” anti-government protest group.
Non-violent protests are chiefly planned by XR from Monday in Europe, North America, Australia, but events are also set to take place in India, Buenos Aires, Cape Town and Wellington.
Another protest was held in Berlin on Saturday, with campaigners setting up camp near the parliament building.
“To governments of the world: we declared a climate and ecological emergency. You did not do enough. To everybody else: rebel,” XR said on its website ahead of its International Rebellion wave of activism.
“You can’t count on us or Greta to do this for you,” it said, referring to teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. “Look inside yourself and rebel.”
Extinction Rebellion was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing environmental movements.
Campaigners want the government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice.


Delhi’s air quality turns ‘severe’ as toxic haze lingers

Updated 56 sec ago

Delhi’s air quality turns ‘severe’ as toxic haze lingers

NEW DELHI: India’s capital New Delhi was shrouded in a toxic haze for the second straight day on Thursday, and visibility dropped due to cooler temperatures and lower wind speeds that let deadly pollutants hang in the air.
The air quality index crossed 400 on a scale of 500, indicative of “severe” conditions that pose a risk for healthy people and can seriously impact those with existing diseases.
The index measures the concentration of deadly pollutant PM2.5 — tiny particles that can enter the bloodstream. Chronic exposure to such pollutants can contribute to the risk of developing diseases such as lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
Federal pollution control officials were tracking the air quality status, Prashant Gargava, member secretary at the Central Pollution Control Board, told Reuters.
The board falls under the federal environment ministry.
Under an emergency action plan, authorities shut down brick kilns and halted all construction activity during the day.
During the last two months, the capital’s 20 million residents have breathed “moderate” to “satisfactory” air only for four days, according to a record of official data compiled by Reuters.
The air quality index was “very poor” on most days this month.
Air quality levels have crossed 400 for a second time this month despite farm fires from Delhi’s neighboring states — blamed by authorities as the primary cause for poor air quality in recent weeks — coming to an end with the onset of winter.
“Now fire counts are almost stopped except in a few routine incidences and hence no contribution to Delhi’s air quality is expected now onwards for the season,” government-run monitor SAFAR said.
The relentless focus on stamping out farm fires every year tends to deflect scrutiny from authorities that are falling behind on cleaning up industry or improving public transport, critics say.
Vehicular exhausts, along with emissions from industry, contribute more than 50% of Delhi’s air pollution on most days through the year, according to official estimates.
SAFAR forecast rain later on Thursday, but added that Delhi’s air quality was likely to deteriorate next week due to foggy conditions.