Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Nantes, Grenoble, Marseille… More than 80 marches “for the future” were organized this Saturday afternoon throughout France at the call of more than 300 associations, collectives , unions or local movements such as the citizen movement Alternatiba, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the feminist collective #NousToutes or the Abbé Pierre foundation.
In Paris, 5,600 demonstrators marched between Place de la Bastille and Place de la République, according to the police, 35,000 according to the organizers. A hundred “yellow vests” had left at the head of the procession.
It is an unprecedented gathering. This is to show, at the end of this five-year term and the start of the next, that these problems have the same root. And if we are not allowed to talk about the candidates today, it is also an opportunity to talk about themes that were overlooked during the campaign.
Lorette Philippot, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth
Note that the law prohibits since midnight Friday evening any electoral propaganda. We have just seen the environmental candidate Yannick Jadot parade, discreetly, behind the truck of his party, EELV. Jean-Luc Mélenchon also “passed quickly and discreetly”, according to those around him.
“We don’t give voting instructions but you have to participate,” said Youcef Brakni of the Adama Committee. “It is the same economic and political system that produces all these oppressions”.
These marches, unprecedented and unitary, would have gathered a total of 60,000 demonstrators according to the organizers.
End of the world, end of the month
In Lyon (1,600 people according to the prefecture, 3,000 according to the organizers), the procession punctuated by slogans, brass bands and olas crossed the Rhône, sometimes under cool showers, to reach Place Bellecour, the largest in the city. Greepeace brought out the giant globe that had guided the first Lyon marches. The organizers took care to avoid the flags of political parties, in order to respect the political reserve of setting.
“Let’s not add oil to the fire”, “They destroy the living, let’s destroy the powerful”, said multicolored signs, or even: “End of the world, end of the month, same fight”, according to the Alternatiba banner, main association organizing the march. “Being anti-racist, feminist, is necessarily environmentalist. Climate defense conveys a broader vision of a fairer society,” explained Alex Montvernay, 29, spokesperson for Alternatiba.
In Bordeaux, the demonstrators (3000 according to the organizers, 900 according to the prefecture) rushed under the sun. “Whatever happens at the electoral level, it is too late. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is giving three years to reverse the carbon emissions curve,” explained a spokesperson for the collective “Il est encore temps” and member of Extinction Rébellion.
Since the end of February, UN climate experts have published two thick reference reports on the climate, confirming the urgency of reversing the curve of greenhouse gas emissions very quickly.
In Strasbourg, around 300 people, according to the prefecture, marched to cries of “we are hotter, hotter, hotter than the climate” and behind a Greenpeace banner proclaiming “Climate: stop blabla, place to deeds”.
Flags of the CGT and the Attac association were also visible in the ranks of the demonstrators, as well as activists wearing green caps, opposed to the Grand bypass west (GCO), a motorway bypass of the Alsatian capital.
In Toulouse, they were some 900 people according to the prefecture, and formed a long human chain to the Place du Capitole.
“We try to mobilize but it’s super hard”, regretted in Paris Nicolas, activist for a citizen movement. “A lot of people have Covid and others have taken family time post-Covid. There are also many supporters who take a first day off after the campaign. “Today is also a warm-up for after the elections,” he said.