Friday, May 14, 2021

France: Hundreds of People Protest Amazon Expansion | News France

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Protesters form a human chain as they rally against Amazon’s plan to set up a facility in the small town of Fournes, in the south of the country.

Hundreds of people gathered in several French cities for protests called by anti-capitalist and environmental groups against e-commerce giant Amazon.

Among the places where protesters staged rallies on Saturday was the small southern town of Fournes, near Pont-du-Gard, a World Heritage site, where the US-based company plans to install a 38,000 square meters (400,000-square-feet).

Protesting at the site, between 800 and 1,000 people formed a human chain to show the size of the project, with multi-colored balloons floating 18 meters (60 feet) to indicate the height of the planned five-story warehouse.

“It has been two years since the citizens of Fournes and its surroundings fought against the installation of a giant Amazon warehouse,” said Raphael Pradeau, spokesperson for the militant group of French citizens Attac.

“Initially, they were a bit alone in front of everyone, but they managed to stop the project thanks to legal remedies,” he added.

“We want to show that these are not small isolated fights and that we can mobilize hundreds of people who are ready to come back to stop work,” Pradeau said.

Activists gather at the site where Amazon plans to build the warehouse in Fournes [AFP]

‘Destructive model’

Campaigners see the retail giant as a primary driver of agricultural land urbanization, a process they say contributes significantly to climate change and loss of environmental biodiversity.

Amazon’s global revenues have skyrocketed during the pandemic and its ability to continue selling during coronavirus lockdowns has compounded the frustration of French opponents, who say it represents an American-style mass consumer culture in contradiction with a long local tradition of neighborhood shops.

The demonstrators also planted shrubs in front of huge banners bearing the inscriptions “Stop Amazon” and “Not here or nowhere”.

“These plants, these shrubs that we are planting today are a symbol of life that contrasts with the realization that Amazonia practices,” said Sarah Latour, 38, who had brought her two sons aged six and eight.

“I came with my children because I don’t want this destructive model for them,” she told AFP news agency.

About 200 people also gathered outside an Amazon installation in Carquefou, a suburb of the western city of Nantes, organizers said.

“We condemn Amazon for destroying more jobs than they create,” said Sophie Jallier, spokesperson for the organizers in Carquefou.

Other protests were reported in the eastern towns of Ensisheim and Augny.

Reacting to similar protests last month, Amazon said it unwittingly became a spokesperson for organizations that often used “misleading” information. He had invested 9.2 billion euros (11.2 billion dollars) in France and was “at the origin” of the creation of 130,000 jobs, said a spokeswoman.



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