French government dissolves environmental group that clashed with police

French government dissolves environmental group that clashed with police |

The French government dissolved the environmental group, Les Soulèvements de la Terre, on Wednesday (21 June), citing the group’s violent clashes with the police as the group sought to stop constructing a water reservoir in western France on 24 March.

The government’s decision comes more than two months after Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin proposed the group’s dissolution following the clashes.

At the time, the government denounced the sabotage carried out by the activists, as well as the “strong acts of violence against the forces of law and order” and “calls for insurrection”.

To dissolve the collective, the government relied on a 1936 law allowing it to dissolve an association that “engages in violent acts against people or property”.

Since 2017, 33 associations have been banned by the French government. These include associations considered to be “Islamist” or promoting an “ideology calling for hatred”, such as the Black African Defence League (LDNA).

Regarding Les Soulèvements de la Terre, the government’s dissolution decree emphasises the “material destruction” and “physical attacks on law enforcement officers” carried out by the collective, which plays “a major role in the conception, dissemination and legitimisation of violent methods of operation”.

Representatives of the Left and the Greens reacted strongly to the decision.

“This is a democratic aberration. In the midst of an ecological crisis, the government is choosing to criminalise those who fight for life,” said Green MEP Marie Toussaint.

“This government’s policing has been condemned by the UN and the Council of Europe,” said far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, highlighting the violence provoked by Darmanin during recent demonstrations.

Indeed, following the large-scale country-wide protests against pension reform, Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, said that “sporadic acts of violence by certain demonstrators […] cannot justify the excessive use of force by agents of the State”.

While few elected representatives came to the government’s defence on Wednesday evening, Renew MEP Jérémy Decerle justified the decision, saying that the collective’s activities were “inadmissible, often violent” and “fundamentally dangerous”.

“It is only natural that in a country governed by the rule of law such as France, they should now pay a high price for the produce they have destroyed and ransacked for no reason, and for the farmers they have caused to suffer”, continued the MEP.

Following the announcement of the dissolution, the movement confirmed that it would “go to court”, believing in the “possibility of victory”.

Les Soulèvements de la Terre is committed to opposing land grabbing and all “unnecessary and imposed” projects. It resorts to protests, civil disobedience and sabotage of industrial infrastructures and comprises over 200 local associations, NGOs, and trade unions.

The dissolution can be challenged using a summary application or an annulment appeal to the Council of State or even by going to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

On Wednesday evening, the collective called for rallies in around 100 towns across France to show their support.

After an initial demonstration against the Lyon-Turin rail tunnel project last week, the collective is again calling for a second rally on 17 and 18 June.

(Hugo Struna |

Read more with EURACTIV

French government dissolves environmental group that clashed with police |

Regional PP candidate rules out governing with ‘sexist’ VOX


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *