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Climate change activists on trial in Paris for stealing Macron portraits

Climate change activists on trial in Paris for stealing Macron portraits

AFP
Paris
Eight activists went on trial in Paris on Wednesday for stealing official portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron from public buildings as part of a protest over climate change.
The activists, aged 23 to 36, have been charged with theft after taking down the pictures from local government offices around the capital in February.
The acts of civil disobedience were part of a movement called ‘Take Down Macron’ which was intended to highlight alleged inaction by the French government over global warming.
The group behind it, Non-Violent Action COP21 (ANV-COP21), claims that 128 portraits have been stolen across France, while 57 people face ‘group theft’ charges which carry a maximum 5-year jail term.
“We came to a point when he had tried everything,” Felix Veve, one of the defendants, told AFP outside the court in northwest Paris on Wednesday where several hundred supporters held up banners and signs in support.
“We’d marched, we’d organised petitions, we’d tried to convince as many people as possible. The government doesn’t listen. Emmanuel Macron is deaf to our calls,” Veve said.
At the end of August, several hundred protesters held up some of the stolen portraits during a protest in southwestern France near Biarritz where Macron was hosting a G7 summit of world leaders.
The 41-year-old French leader said recently that he had “changed very profoundly” in his attitude to climate change and has promised to put the issue at the heart of the second half of his presidency.
“The mobilisation by young people for several weeks and months, that is still going on, has made me think about things,” he told the Konbini website on August 23.