At the height of the demonstration, a few hundred activists are gathered near the CRS who are blocking access to the Salle Pleyel, where the annual general meeting of TotalEnergies is taking place on Friday May 26. Among these activists, there is Sixtine, with fake oil smeared in her hair. “We’ve been up since four in the morning, we came in waves of activists to prevent people from coming in. We got tear gas while we were sitting and we were handcuffed to street furniture. “is absurd, ridiculous. It’s an immense hypocrisy”she explains.
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These activists are there to denounce the group’s activities in fossil fuels, with the aim of blocking this general meeting of shareholders of TotalEnergies. It is precisely when the first shareholders arrive that the demonstration becomes tense. Some turn back under boos and invectives: “It’s shameful to be able to vote today for TotalEnergies’ projects. You legitimize their deadly work”.
A beginning of exchange sometimes settles. An activist, for example, asks a shareholder: “How do you react if in 15 years your grandchildren are angry with you because you did not react?”. To which this shareholder responds: “Total also invests in alternative energies. Of course, you’re going to say ‘very little’ because you’re there. We finally have a company that is making profits, you won’t be spitting in the soup all the time”.
Neither camp will convince the other but the message is hammered home by these demonstrators, in particular on Total’s projects in Africa. “There is the EACOP and Tilenga project which is planned in Uganda and Tanzania. It is a heated pipeline project, the longest in the world, which would cross hundreds of kilometres, and oil wells, some of which will be built within “a nature reserve. It would wreak irreversible havoc on biodiversity. It’s a real climate bomb”, estimated Lorette Philippot, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth.
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Total must immediately cease all its investments in fossil energies, adds the director of Greenpeace France, Jean-François Julliard, satisfied with the mobilization of the day. “It’s not nothing, he points out. Shareholders saw us, shareholders heard us or heard about us because they stayed home to vote online. It’s not because we’re here that we’re going to change things, but it helps. We must continue, do this all over the world and ensure that, never again, a general meeting of a group like Total can take place without a hitch”.
“You legitimize their deadly work”: shareholders of TotalEnergies arrested by environmental protesters – the report by Guillaume Farriol