Environmentalists blockade Amazon warehouse in France in ‘Block Friday’ protest

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Nicola Mira
today Nov 29, 2019
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On Thursday afternoon, several dozen environmentalist militants blockaded an Amazon distribution centre south of Paris, to denounce the damages to the planet caused by the overconsumption fuelled by events like Black Friday.

On November 28 2019, pro-environment militants blockaded an Amazon distribution centre in the Paris region - AFP/Thomas SAMSON

Between 50 and 100 militants from the ANV-COP21 and Amis de la Terre environmentalist groups set down bales of straw and formed a human blockade in front of Amazon’s Brétigny-sur-Orge logistics hub to the south of Paris, as witnessed by some AFP journalists.

Some of the protesters unfurled banners with slogans urging Amazon to stop “expansion and overproduction” for the sake of the environment, while others blocked vehicular access to the warehouse with old domestic appliances, or lay down on the ground chained to one another with armlock devices. The centre’s employees were instead allowed to enter and leave freely.

The demonstration took place on the eve of the Black Friday promotional event.

Several organisations have called for action in the course of the week, notably on Friday, to protest against the overconsumption fostered by Black Friday. Also, against the environmental damage caused by the millions of deliveries it triggers, involving countless products, many of which, according to the militants, are then returned.

“We respect everyone’s right to express their opinions, but we profoundly disagree with the modus operandi (...), which spreads false allegations in the interest of a political agenda,” stated Amazon France in a press release on Thursday.

Without mentioning Black Friday, the e-commerce giant assured that it is committed to “ambitious objectives” aiming to make it “a zero-carbon corporation by 2040.”

The controversy also played out on the political arena, as the French Minister for Ecological Transition, Élisabeth Borne, warned against the “consumption frenzy” and the environmental damage caused by Black Friday. One of France’s retail trade associations deplored the Minister's comments.

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