Anti-climate protesters face tear gas at oil giant TotalEnergies shareholder meeting in Paris

PARIS — French police cordoned off oil giant TotalEnergies’ general meeting in Paris on Friday, firing tear gas and pushing back climate protesters who chanted: “Be gentle police, we’re doing this for your children!”

The shareholders, who were escorted to the meeting by the police, ran a gauntlet against the peaceful, serious and mostly young demonstrators who waved signs attacking the climate record of the French energy company, which has profited hugely from the rise in prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their signs read: “The last pipeline before the end of the world” and “Listen to the scientists: No more fossil projects.”

Protesters sat down in surrounding streets and linked arms to block entry to the meeting at the famous Paris concert hall. The police took some protesters with them to move them out of the way. They fired tear gas to force people back.

It comes after climate protesters tried to rush onto the stage of a Shell shareholder meeting in London on Tuesday, being dragged and dragged by security guards.

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Dozens of activists forced the start of the meeting to be delayed by chanting “Shut down Shell,” while others shouted, held signs and linked arms as security tried to remove them.

More climate protests are expected as US oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron hold their shareholder meetings on Wednesday.

The burning of coal, oil, natural gas and biomass is blamed for air pollution, which researchers say is killing 1.2 million people worldwide each year and fueling the climate crisis, causing deadly weather extremes, hunger, heat deaths, migration and environmental destruction.

The head of the United Nations has pleaded for an end to new fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to stop producing coal, oil and gas by 2040.

Citing the protests, TotalEnergies previously told shareholders they could vote remotely. A resolution by activist investors calling on the company to align its goals for reducing emissions from energy use with the Paris climate agreement failed.

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Protesters came hours before the meeting as dawn broke to try to block the meeting. The conflict with the police arose from here.

“We have no choice but to be here every single time they are here,” said demonstrator Camille Etienne.


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