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Greta Thunberg marches in France against oil drilling

By AFP - Feb 12,2024 - Last updated at Feb 12,2024

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a demonstration in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on Sunday, against plans to drill eight new oil wells in La Teste-de-Buch forest (AFP photo)

BORDEAUX — Ecological activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday joined a protest in the southwest of France against eight planned oil wells, which in theory will be banned in the country by 2040.

The “Stop Petrole Bassin d’Arcachon” group, which opposes oil drilling in the area around the seaside resort of Arcachon, claimed 3,000 showed up for the protest, but police said there were 1,200.

“The exit from fossil fuels must begin now by rejecting this project,” said Natalie Herve, a spokeswoman for the group.

Thunberg was in the region after making an appearance on Saturday at a demonstration against a local highway, where on Sunday police used tear gas to clear protesters who were blocking a railway.

The internationally known Swedish activist, wearing a pink raincoat and Palestinian keffiyeh, didn’t speak at the anti-oil protest on Sunday but danced and shouted slogans in French and English against the fossil fuel industry.

The wells would be drilled by Canada’s Vermilion Energy, which has a concession near Arcachon until the start of 2035. The field has been in production since the 1960s and about 50 wells today produce a total of 1,500 barrels a day.

Opponents are hoping to block authorisation for the project, which has yet to be approved.

In 2017, the French government voted to stop domestic oil production by 2040.

At the beginning of December, the ecological transition minister Christophe Bechu said that as long as France needs oil, it is “not so bad that it comes from here instead of the other end of the world”.

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