French Police Teargas Protesters At Oil Giant's Meeting

The Annual General Meeting Of Totalenergies Opened On Friday In Paris After Police Teargassed Climate Activists, As The Oil Giant Also Faces Pressure From The French Government To Speed Up The Switch To Renewable Energy.

11:33 AM WAT, Fri May 26, 2023

Protesters have been dispersed with fired tear gas, after trying to block an annual general meeting of French oil giant TotalEnergies in Paris, France.  

In the French capital, dozens of protesters tried to enter a part of the street that was blocked off by police trucks to secure the concert hall where TotalEnergies was scheduled to hold its meeting.

A dozen demonstrators managed to sit on the ground in front of the venue, the Salle Pleyel, and were teargassed after ignoring three warnings issued by officers using megaphones.

Protesters chanted "all we want is to knock down Total" and -- in reference to rising global temperatures -- bellowed "one, two and three degrees, we have Total to thank".

"We won't let them go," said Marie Cohuet, spokeswoman for climate campaigners Alternatiba.

TotalEnergies "embodies the worst of what is done in terms of the exploitation of people and the planet", Cohuet said.

The company wanted to avoid the chaos of last year when activists prevented some shareholders from attending the annual meeting.

Some shareholders began to enter the hall as the French company insisted that the meeting would take place while forbidding attendees and journalists to use their smartphones inside.

The demonstration caps a series of tumultuous shareholder meetings at major corporations in Europe as activists step up pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprints.