Eight arrested as climate activists break into chemicals plant in France


  • World
  • Sunday, 03 Mar 2024

PARIS (Reuters) - Several hundred protesters briefly broke into a plant owned by chemicals group Arkema near Lyon in southeastern France on Saturday to protest against alleged pollution from the site and eight people were arrested, local authorities said on Saturday.

"An action was carried out by radical activists against the Arkema company in Pierre Bénite in early afternoon ... Police quickly intervened to prevent damage and eight individuals have already been arrested," a government official for the Auvergne-Rhone region wrote on X.

Video footage from climate movement Extinction Rebellion on X and from BFM TV showed activists clad in white breaking into the site, writing "murderers" in red paint on the walls and breaking doors and materials to draw attention to the discharge of PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that are not bio-degradable.

In a statement condemning the action, Arkema said its teams were now inspecting the site to make sure it was safe as well as assessing damage.

In December 2022, the Pierre Benite site was targeted by similar action. Arkema said it would again file a complaint.

It said it had been investing so the site could stop using fluorinated additives by the end of 2024 and had started using a filtration solution reducing its emissions by over 90%.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Mark Potter)

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