NEWS

Black Friday protests against Amazon take place across France

Published on: 2nd December 2019

Protestors gathered outside the company’s French headquarters and blockaded a shopping centre and a logistics centre.

The demonstrations, dubbed “Block Friday”, are aiming to disrupt Amazon’s business operations in France and across Europe. The protestors aimed to cause widespread disruption on Black Friday, citing consumerism and its impact on the environment.

Similar protests also took place in Germany, where workers from six distribution centres staged a walkout over pay and conditions. Environmentalists have accused Amazon of accelerating climate change through its rapid delivery services, which they say contributes to greenhouse gases emissions.

Coline Vanhenacker, a spokeswoman for environmental group Friends of the Earth, said Amazon represented “overproduction, overconsumption and overwaste”.

A spokesperson from Amazon said the company respected the activists right to protest but disagreed with “the actions of these individuals”.

Amazon ships around 10b packages per year, but to mitigate its impact on the climate, has pledged to go net carbon neutral by 2040 by investing in electric delivery vans, among other initiatives.

French lawmakers have raised the issue of banning Black Friday due to its environmental impact, and Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne has warned against the “consumption frenzy” linked to the event. An “anti-waste” bill was amended to include a proposal to prohibit Black Friday by a French legislative committee on Monday.

“Black Friday celebrates a model of consumption that is anti-ecological and anti-social,” said MP Mattieu Orphelin, a former member of President Emmanuel Macron’s LREM party.

A trade union in France has opposed the proposal, as have conservative MPs, including Republican Eric Woerth, who called the debate over the amendment a “useless row”.

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