Climate Justice Activists Protest and Occupy French Consulate in San Francisco

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Climate Justice Activists Protest and Occupy French Consulate in San Francisco

Activists occupy lobby calling on French government to lift ban on climate marches at U.N. climate talks, act on climate change.

SAN FRANCISCO–At 930am this morning, a group of eight  Bayparis SF 5 Area protesters entered the lobby of the French Consulate in San Francisco’s financial district to speak with the consular general. The demonstrators  dressed in blue, covered their mouths with French flag tape to call attention to the repression of climate organizers during the ongoing United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) talks in Paris. Another 20 people rallied outside the consulate doors with signs and banners. The protest calls on the French government to lift a prohibition of public marches during the COP. The group called on the French government  to stop the acceleration of global climate disruption by pushing for a strong international agreement to regulate carbon emissions.

Citing concerns about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, on November 19 the French government announced a ban on public gatherings and protests, interrupting a Global Climate March planned for 29 November, at which 200,000 people from around the world were expected to march. A December 12th climate mobilization was banned as well.  Under a veil of national security, French police  wrongly placed 24 French climate organizers under house arrest and began turning back international activists at its borders. On November 29th, French police attacked peaceful protesters at the Place de Republique with tear gas, pepper spray and violently arrested over 200 people.

Protesters at today’s San Francisco action say that France’s heightened security rules endanger citizens’ ability to participate meaningfully in these international climate talks.

‘Many political leaders now acknowledge Climate Change presents a real security threat to the future of nations.” said protest organizer Lynn Stone, with local climate justice group Diablo Rising Tide. “Stifling free speech during the Paris climate talks is a tragic mistake. Paris should not fear and restrict climate justice protesters when the real threat is climate change.”

The talks in Paris come at a critical juncture in world history as more action is needed on climate as storms, floods and droughts increase in intensity each year. Despite the obstacles faced by protesters in Paris, an additional  700,000 people are estimated to have marched in cities throughout the world last weekend calling for heads of state and COP negotiators to rise to the occasion of the climate crisis. Over 50 major cities saw huge demonstrations.

In Oakland, on November 21st, over 5,000 marched for climate action after hearing the same call to action. Action oriented climate justice groups like Diablo Rising Tide have vowed to pressure corporate and political leaders on the issue of fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure and combustion in Northern California.

protest CJ Paris“As a coastal region and a hotbed of environmental innovation, these climate talks are especially relevant to life in the Bay Area,” said Scott Parkin, also with Diablo Rising Tide. “Numerous Bay Area organizations have sent representatives to Paris to join others from around the globe, and the recent crackdown prevents citizens here and around the world from making their voices heard.”

On September 28th, Diablo Rising Tide organized Flood Wall Street West which saw over 250 people march to the offices of Chevron, Wells Fargo and Bank of the West in San Francisco’s Financial District.. The mass civil disobedience shut down the corporate headquarters of Bank of the West for the day and led to the arrests of a dozen climate activists. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of French bank BNP-Paribas, a lead financier of the coal sector in France.

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Diablo Rising Tide is the Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America network. Rising Tide is an all-volunteer climate network in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confront the root causes of climate change with protests and grassroots organizing.The larger Rising Tide network spans four continents and works with activists in North and South America, Europe, and Australia.

 

Anti-Fracking Activists Stage Direct Action in San Francisco, 12 Arrested

16458393982_04d5cf9ece_zFebruary 6, 2015

**Interviews available

Contact: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161 laurel@kswild.org
Pennie Opal Plant, Idle No More SF Bay, 510-390-0386

 Twelve Arrested at Anti-Fracking Protest in San Francisco

SF action comes a day before large planned march and rally to take place in Oakland aimed at pressuring Governor Brown to end fracking in California

Photos from the action: http://bit.ly/1yQBkZy

San Francisco—Twelve anti-fracking activists were arrested in front of Governor Jerry Brown’s San Francisco offices Friday to call on Governor Brown to ban fracking, halt the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and expedite the transition to 100 percent renewable energy in California. Activists from local labor and climate justice groups blocked the doors to all three entrances of the Earl Warren State Supreme Court building, which houses Brown’s San Francisco offices, while others blocked traffic and locked down to a 16-foot high wooden oil derrick (with one person perched on top of the derrick itself.) Indigenous activists with Idle No More held a round dance in front of the building, while members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship sat in on the Warren building front stairs. Among those arrested were activists from three generations of the same family, from ages 18 to 85.

The direct action opens a weekend of protests calling on Brown to fulfill his stated commitment to leading on climate change by banning fracking in California. On Saturday, thousands will march in Oakland in support of a California fracking ban. The San Francisco direct action on Friday escalates pressure on Brown, who has been dodging the issue for years.

“Humanity can live without fossil fuels.  We cannot live without clean water.  The fracking industry is poisoning the water that is necessary for life to exist.  State regulators have let us all down by irresponsibly allowing the fracking industry to pollute natural water systems that were to be set aside for human consumption. It’s time for everyone to rise up and demand a stop to the corporate give-a-ways.  Idle No More SF Bay is here today to rise up for the future of life on Mother Earth,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay.

“We are taking direct action as food service workers to say ‘Don’t Frack Our Food.’ Fracking poisons the food that we eat, that we feed to our families, and that we serve to our customers. The oil industry is affecting our communities. It’s happening in our backyards, not the bosses’ backyard,” said Veronica Garcia, organizer with UNITE HERE 2850 who participated in blocking the McAllister Street entrance to the Warren building. UNITE HERE 2850 represents food service and hospitality workers in the East Bay and North Bay.

“Jerry Brown says Buddhism has taught him a respect for life. If that’s true, how can he allow fracking to continue in California? Between the harsh chemicals, the excessive use of water during a drought, and notoriously dangerous conditions for workers, fracking kills precious beings,” said Dawn Haney, Co-Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

“In Buddhism we have a concept called ‘ahimsa,’ or non-harming,” said Buddhist Peace Fellowship Co-Director Katie Loncke. “In the face of disproportionate pollution in poor communities and communities of color, we find it necessary to engage in ‘militant ahimsa’: nonviolent action that tries to stop harm from happening. This is our way of compassionately confronting government bodies and corporations who are choosing to harm the earth and living beings through fracking.”

“Our political leaders are profiting from Big Oil’s business as usual, and the only way they will ever stand up for what’s right is if we make it absolutely impossible to continue on our current course.  We must force the political class into a choice between ending the war against the earth and communities on it, or filling the jails with people leading with their conscience.” said Scott Parkin, a local climate activist and participant in today’s actions.

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