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Activists with Extinction Rebellion pepper-sprayed by police as they occupied the Sully Bridge in Paris on Friday. (Photo: Extinction Symbol/Screenshot/via Twitter)

Activists with Extinction Rebellion pepper-sprayed by police as they occupied the Sully Bridge in Paris on Friday. (Photo: Extinction Symbol/Screenshot/via Twitter)

On 'Hottest Day in History of France,' World Told 'Do Not Look Away' as Police Tear-Gas Climate Campaigners in Paris

"Watch this video and ask yourself," said Greta Thunberg, "who is defending who?"

Andrea Germanos

French riot police tear-gassed climate protesters in Paris on Friday as the county sweltered under record heat.

Activists with Extinction Rebellion (XR) were occupying a bridge over the Seine to demand the French government declare a climate emergency and take necessary action to avert planetary catastrophe.

"We need to civilly disrupt because, otherwise, nothing is going to be done," a British woman who took part in the protest told Euronews.

Video shows the police teargassing the protesters at a close range and then forcibly trying to remove them from the scene.

350 Europe described the display of police violence as "shocking."

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who ignited the School Strike for Climate movement, said on social media: "Watch this video and ask yourself; who is defending who?"

The action also drew praise from the U.S.-based Sunrise Movement, who gave props to the protesters for "putting their bodies on the line for climate justice."

The XR action took place as temperatures hovered in near 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) in Paris—far cooler than in some other parts of the country.

The French meteorological agency said that temperatures topped 45° C (113° F) for the first time on the books, with the threshold being passed in three cities. 

The steamiest reading was in Gallargues-le-Montueux, where it hit 45.9 °C (114.6° F) in the late afternoon.


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