Today is technically a rest day, but there’s still lots going on. Some people choose to visit some of Paris’ cultural treasures but weirdly, that never even enters my mind. I guess I’ve been to Paris enough times and right now all that stuff feels irrelevant.
Instead we cycle to an area a few blocks north east and find out about an ‘action’ that’s taking place as part of the Climate Games. Although it makes me think of The Hunger Games (and maybe climate change eventually will reduce civilisation to this kind of thing), the Climate Games are basically a series of life-supporting non-violent pranks, stunts and Flashmob-style demos taking place all over the city, mainly against commercial sponsors and corporations either directly involved in the COP21 or companies that have been lobbying behind the scenes for business as usual. Or, in the case of Volkswagen, downright lying.
The idea of the stunt is for a small group of people to visit a VW showroom, ask questions about a brand new ‘zero emissions’ model VW are rumoured to be producing – also known as a ‘bicycle’ – and as this happens more people will stream into the shop while another group of activists bare all to reveal a cheeky slogan on their bum cheeks. You’ll need to watch the video to see what this is…
I have to admit that by the time we get to the shop (we’d been hanging back in a side street) we’re actually too late, it’s already happened. The shop staff have activated the electronic metal shutter, so anyone caught inside will probably be arrested, hence everyone makes a run for it. We disperse to a nearby coffee shop.
For lunch we have soup and bread on the street served by one of the many small food cooperatives keeping demonstrators fed over the weekend. Then we head into a big hall for an afternoon briefing on tomorrow’s ‘Red Lines’ action. The speakers are all very positive, it’s inspiring to be in the company of so many other like-minded people from all walks of life, and the good news is that the action has been given the go-ahead by the French authorities. I mean, it was going to go ahead anyway, but at least it will be legal. Red tullips and red umbrellas are handed out, along with general instructions, legal advice, etc. Excitingly, it turns out that the signal for the start of the action will be BIKES (that’s us) riding onto Avenue de la Grande Armee!
In the evening I join fellow Greenpeace activists in the east of town who have hired out a huge hall for banner-making, craftivism, food, beer and, by the time we get there, a disco. It’s a fun, energetic end to the day (for the last song of the night, the crowd spontaneously mutates into a huge human conga), ahead of the action tomorrow.