Climate change activists expressed disappointment at a decision by France to cancel street demonstrations around upcoming UN climate talks, after bloody attacks in Paris, but vowed their calls for a strong new deal to curb global warming would still be heard.
On Wednesday evening, the French government said security concerns meant it could not allow a huge march to take place on Nov 29, the day before the talks start, or other actions planned for Dec 12, at the end of the two-week negotiations.
The decision follows attacks by militant Islamists last Friday in Paris that killed 129 people.
The government also ruled out climate marches in public places in other French cities, but said planned civil society activities could go ahead in closed spaces or where security could be ensured.
Alix Mazounie, international policy coordinator for RAC France, a coalition of 16 associations working on climate change, said organisers were concerned for people’s safety and had pushed hard to find an alternative way of holding the marches – for example, inside a stadium.
But the French government “gave up on us very quickly”, she said, despite continuing to permit tourists to visit the Eiffel Tower and outdoor Christmas markets.
“It’s basically saying we don’t think your voices are that important that we should make sure they can be expressed somehow,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Nonetheless, 57 marches calling for climate justice will be held in other cities around the world the weekend before the Paris conference starts, she noted.