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Amazon warehouses blocked in France during Black Friday protests

Protestors in France have blocked Amazon centres on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year for the online retail giant.

Amazon’s French headquarters in Clichy were targeted by the group Contre Amazon et son monde, while environmental protestors from Amis de la terre assembled at one of the firm’s largest fulfilment centres in Bretigny-sur-Orge.

Activists blocked delivery lorries and placed banners on gates and fences with the slogans “Stop Amazon” and “Amazon: for the climate, for employment, stop expanding, stop overproduction”.

Manon Aubry, a member of the European parliament, said the protests were intended to “denounce the social, environmental and fiscal damage from Amazon”.

She wrote on Twitter: “From the streets to parliament, we continue to fight against the impunity of the multinationals.”

France’s ecological transition minister Elisabeth Borne blamed Black Friday for causing “traffic jams, pollution, and gas emissions”.

According to social media posts from Attac, a group that campaigns for more democratic globalisation, there was also a sit-in outside an Amazon logistics centre near Lyon, in eastern France.

Video posted online by Attac showed police in riot helmets picking up activists and hauling them away. The Lyon protesters had erected a sign saying: “Amazon… Stop expansion, Stop Over-production!”

Amazon France said it respected the rights of people to protest but claimed the group’s fears were unfounded.

“The demonstrators and Attac are throwing around untrue allegations based on factual errors and are pointing the finger at Amazon for political ends,” the firm said in a statement.​

Francois Momboisse, president of French online retail association Fevad, condemned the protests.

“Black Friday is one of the top sales days of the year and it allows us to smooth out Christmas shopping over a longer period… It does not necessarily lead to more consumption,” he told French broadcaster BFM TV.

On Monday, French MPs passed a legislative amendment to ban abusive advertising and misleading promotions during sale periods, taking aim at Black Friday campaigns in particular.

The proposal will be debated in the National Assembly next month.

Elsewhere in Europe, Amazon workers at six warehouses in Germany staged a walkout over poor pay and working conditions.

Additional reporting by agencies


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