French police detained some 100 people protesting against the Group of Eight summit Thursday as protests sprung up across the country to mark the two-day summit. In the city of Le Havre, demonstrators occupied a branch of the BNP bank that they said helped finance the nuclear industry.
Protester: “We are here to condemn two things. Nuclear power, because BNP is the bank that invests the most in nuclear power in the world, at a global level. This is also the bank that does the most tax evasion in France: 1.9 billion euros of tax evasion in 2010. It’s a record. Sixty-nine branches in the tax havens.”
In Paris, Doctors Without Borders hung a giant banner advocating free medical care outside the Paris stock exchange building. Another group of activists managed to get inside the Paris offices of credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s. Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo harshly criticized the G8 summit.
Kumi Naidoo: “The G8 is basically a cartel, a self-appointed cartel of eight dominant nations, which carry actually the biggest responsibility collectively for climate change and a whole range of other issues. What we are concerned about the G8 is — and if you have a look at the draft communiqués that have been leaked now — is it’s a regurgitation every year of the same commitments, repackaged and restated. This is not leadership. This is fraudulence, and it needs to be addressed.”