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G7: Police Fire Tear Gas, 17 Counter-Summit Activists Arrested

  • French police throw tear gas at anti-G7 summit demonstrators in Bayonne, France. Aug. 24, 2019

    French police throw tear gas at anti-G7 summit demonstrators in Bayonne, France. Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 August 2019

The police began to disperse a march, throwing tear gas and releasing water cannons on anti-capitalist demonstrators.

French riot police fired tear gas at anti-capitalism protesters in Bayonne, a town near Biarritz, the luxurious resort where the Group of Seven (G7) leaders are meeting for their three-day annual summit.


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Police also used water cannons on demonstrators who were holding the planned marches in Bayonne, 8km from the G7 venue.

Earlier, thousands of environmental activists, human rights defenders, social activists, Basques and Yellow Vest protesters marched peacefully across France's border with Spain to demanding a slew of action from G7 leaders, from climate change initiatives to anti-neoliberal programs.

Currently, the heads of state or presidents of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, are guarded by over 13,000 officers in the exclusive town during the summit that will last from Aug. 24 to the 26th.

France's President Emmanuel Macron "has turned the city into a fortress," the European outlet WSWS commented and reported that security forces had been deployed "discreetly" in the Basque Country.

"Bayonne: The gendarmes use a GLI F4 grenade to disperse the crowd. No injuries as a result of this explosion."

On Saturday, the French police lost all abandon and transformed the regularly peaceful landscape of Bayonne into a military zone, likely out of fear that the Yellow Vests and other demonstrators would reach the streets of Biarritz.​​​​​​​ Police helicopters whirled above as protesters shouted, "Everybody hates the police" and "anti, anti anti-capitalists." 

Arguing that the march was unauthorized, the police ​​​​​started throwing tear gas and releasing water cannons at the people.​​​​​​​ They arrested 17 anti-summit activists who say they plan to continue their acts of "disobedience" Sunday. The environmental group "Action non-violente COP21" will defy a ban on demonstrations in Bayonne, with a march carrying official portraits of President Macron that were previously stolen in an act of defiance toward the administration's austerity measures.​​​​

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