Among environmental activists, the temptation of sabotage

Among environmental activists, the temptation of sabotage

2023-05-04 10:30:09

The threat, launched more than a month ago, has still not been carried out. On March 28, three days after the violent clashes, during the anti-bassine rally in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres), the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced his desire to dissolve Les Uprisings of the Earth, an environmental movement co – organizer of the demonstration, invoking “violence against the police”but also “destruction of property” or even “calls for insurrection”.

The decision was to be taken by decree, in the Council of Ministers, in mid-April. Wednesday, May 3, it had still not been announced. A necessary period, we explain to the Ministry of the Interior, to have a “indisputable record” and not to risk the invalidation of this dissolution by the Council of State. Beyond the political and legal issues raised by this procedure, the announcement of Place Beauvau has given a spotlight both to the movement, which has since seen the multiplication of collective creations, and to the techniques of sabotage that it claims. .

If the militants could not access the mega-basin of Sainte-Soline, on March 25, they had already destroyed pumps and pipes of water tanks, during previous mobilizations. Elsewhere in France, other environmental activists have been multiplying these direct actions for months, whether it concerns deflated SUV tires, golf holes clogged with concrete, degraded cement works. If it continues to be debated, the destruction or degradation of material goods in the name of environmental emergency is now practiced by many activists, as climate marches and petitions run out of steam.

As the climate crisis worsens, and faced with what they see as “inaction” or even “climaticide action” by the government, many are directly targeting those they believe are responsible for the ecological disaster: polluting industries and the wealthiest citizens. “It is legitimate to try to shut down a system that puts us in danger, claims Léa (who prefers to conceal her surname), Parisian documentalist and member of Extinction Rebellion. We reclaim the right to defend ourselves, because the State does not do it or, worse, encourages this system. »

A “prevention of death”

“Superyachts, private jets, SUVs, coal-fired power plants or gas pipelines kill people”, by emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases, responsible for global warming, argues Andreas Malm, associate professor at the University of Lund (Sweden), who was present at Sainte-Soline. “It is therefore a form of damage reduction and death prevention to destroy them”says the author of How to sabotage a pipeline (La Fabrique Ed., 2020), a reference work among activists.

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