Thousands March In France As Macron Takes Climate Plan To Senate
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Mon 10th May 2021 | 01:30 AM
Paris, May 9 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 10th May, 2021 ) :Tens of thousands of people marched in France Sunday calling for more ambitious climate action, as President Emmanuel Macron's promise to enshrine the fight in the French constitution appeared on the verge of failure.
The initiative to state in the constitution that France "guarantees environmental protection and biological diversity, and combats climate change" originated in a citizen's body set up by Macron last year.
But on Monday the bill goes to the Senate, where the right-wing Republicans hold sway.
"As things stand, there can't be a referendum," National Assembly speaker Richard Ferrand acknowledged Sunday. A majority in the Senate, he said, was "more conservative" concerning environmental questions.
"I'm not here to save the planet and three turtles," one activist, Vanessa, told AFP at the Bordeaux march. "I'm here to save humanity." Police said 8,500 people demonstrated in Paris -- organisers put the number at 56,000.
"We denounce the lack of ambition in the climate law and, since this morning, the near-certain cancellation of the referendum, which constitutes another step backwards," Cyril Dion, a member of the climate citizen's group, told AFP at the Paris protest.
Greenpeace, while welcoming some advances, denounced what it said was the "tremendous waste" of the proposed law, which it said seemed more about appearances than real action.
Macron's office told AFP that the plan to change the constitution was "in no way buried".
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal added that "obviously we want the referendum to happen, this is what the president committed to".
- 'A promise he couldn't keep' - A majority of senators take issue with the word "guarantee" in the bill, which they say implies that environmental concerns would take priority over other constitutional principles.
Condemnation by his political opponents was swift, with Green party boss Julien Bayou saying that Macron "as usual made a promise he couldn't keep".
Centre-right senator Bruno Retailleau said Macron was guilty of "hypocrisy", saying the president "accuses us of obstruction to justify the cancellation of a referendum that he never wanted".
The last referendum in France was in 2005, when voters were asked to back the creation of a European constitution.
It was rejected in a humiliating defeat for then-president Jacques Chirac.