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12 April 2017 | Interviews | Resisting neoliberalism
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On Tuesday, April 11, in Bar-le-Duc, France, Florent Compain, Chair of Friends of the Earth France, was tried by financial corporation BNP-Paribas due to his participation in non-violent demonstrations, denouncing the bank´s complicity in tax evasion practices.
The prosecutor considered Compain is responsible for an "unusual mobilization practice" and accused the environmental activist of robbery, demanding the payment of 500 Euros in compensation and fines to BNP-Paribas. "Meanwhile, nobody judges the actions of the bank, which certainly justify a trial: tax evasion, fossil fuel finance, and support to companies involved in human rights violations. For these reasons, it is BNP which needs to be tried", stated Friends of the Earth France in a press release.
The trial was conducted in the framework of mobilizations carried out by Friends of the Earth France and a "tweet storm" where over 150 organizations around the world participated, revealing the true intentions of the charges against Florent: to prevent people from knowing about the criminal behavior of the French financial corporation.
#BNPcoupable guilty of climate crimes & tax evasion-FoE France president should not be in court today-bank should be pic.twitter.com/8VVjP4Xwyw
— Friends of the Earth (@FoEint) April 11, 2017
Also in Paris, France, mobilizations were called outside BNP-Paribas headquarters, demanding justice and Florent Compain´s acquittal.
In an interview with Real World Radio a few minutes after knowing the court´s decision, Malika Peyraut stated that the French bank was the one on trial, due to its climate and tax evasion crimes.
"This has been an important and strong day for the climate justice movement in France", said the activist. "We went to the bank´s headquarters in Paris and also in Ban Le Duc where the trial was taking place and we showed the strength of the climate justice movement", she said in the phone interview with Real World Radio.
"We managed to put BNP-Paribas on trial. This was not a trial against the Chair of Friends of the Earth France", said the French activist. As an example, she stated that BNP-Paribas is financing several fracking projects to obtain non-conventional hydrocarbons in the US, which violates human rights.
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