Golf-French activists fill holes with cement in protest at watering exemptions


(Reuters) -Climate activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion have targeted golf courses in southern France, filling holes with concrete in protest over exemptions from water restrictions during one of the worst droughts on record.

France has told residents to avoid non-essential water usage like car-washing and watering gardens. However, activists complain that golf courses are allowed to continue watering greens.

The protest action took place at the Vieille-Toulouse club and also at the Garonne des Sept Deniers course.

Defending their exemption from the water restrictions, Gerard Rougier of the French Golf Federation told the France Info news website: "A golf course without a green is like an ice-rink without ice."

Extinction Rebellion Toulouse posted a photograph on Twitter apparently showing a golf hole filled with cement and a sign saying "This hole is drinking 277,000 litres. Do you drink that much? #Stop Golf".

A petition aimed at scrapping the exemption enjoyed by French golf courses during drought said: "Economic madness takes precedence over ecological reason."

Water bans are enforced at the discretion of regional officials and so far only Ille-et-Villaine in western France had banned the watering of golf courses.

France had been one of the hardest hit by the hot and dry conditions across Europe with firefighters battling a "monster" blaze in forests in the southwest France.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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