French Police Teargas Protesters at Oil Giant's Meeting
TEHRAN (FNA)- Police fired tear gas to disperse climate protesters trying to block an annual general meeting of French oil giant TotalEnergies in Paris on Friday.
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, AFP reported.
At dawn 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".
Some poured a black liquid over their heads. "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.
Climate campaigners are growing impatient with oil majors and other companies over their impact on the planet. During the annual shareholders' meeting of British group Shell on Tuesday, activists shouted out "Go to hell Shell!"
TotalEnergies plans to allocate a third of its investments in low-carbon sources of energy and reach 100 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity by 2030. But France's energy transition minister, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, urged the company to speed things up on Friday.
"Total invests in renewable energies, but the challenge is to go faster, stronger and above all faster," she told FranceInfo radio.
TotalEnergies Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne rejected criticism against his group in an interview with La Croix newspaper on Wednesday, saying the company must meet growing demand from developing nations.
"No, TotalEnergies cannot lower oil demand on its own," he said.