After Roland-Garros, the environmental movement “Last Renovation” held the third action of the Tour de France this Friday by managing to neutralize the 19th stage in a few minutes. Some activities cannot be excluded on Sunday.
The Tour de France in one stop. For the third time since the start of the Grande Boucle, the most publicized cycling race in the world was neutralized for a few minutes on Friday in the 19th stage between Castelnau-Magnoac and Cahors. As during the 10th and 15th period, the citizens of the environmental collective “Dernière Rénovation” blocked the road 157 kilometers from the finish. “We have 979 days left” was written in large black characters on the white T-shirts of the six activists. “We know that we can disturb people, know Sasha, a member of the movement. But the biggest risk is to do nothing.
The Tour, is a big sounding board
Launched in February, “Last Renovation” aims to move the lines and especially the government, so that it can make a reliable and effective commitment to the insulation of buildings. The marches for the climate have limited impact, the collective is multiplying strange actions, especially in the field of sports, where the sounding board is important especially in media coverage. His first big hit? The Roland-Garros men’s semi-final between Marin Cilic and Casper Ruud. Alizé, a 22-year-old protester, held a net around her neck before being evacuated from the court by guards. “There will be other actions,” warned the collective…
Promises are kept in the Grande Boucle: “We know that all eyes are on the Tour de France”, says Sasha. This Friday, “Last Renovation” claims responsibility for its operation on social networks, set up “to stop the mad race towards the annihilation of our society”, according to the press release: “We can no longer remain who are bystanders to the ongoing climate catastrophe. . .We have 989 days left to save our future, our people.”
Long straight line operations to avoid accident
Present on July 12 during the stage between Morzine and Megève, Paul, 25, participated in blocking the Tour. Before carrying out this operation, he and 11 activists prepared their action by securing their information as much as possible. Objective: not to derail the operation. The choice of location owes nothing to chance. “The safety of the runners is an important factor”, indicates Paul. To choose the place of their activity, the members of Dernier Rénovation therefore chose a long straight line: “The runners must be seen.”
An activist positioned in front of the others alerted the direction of the race with a red smoke bomb, allowing the peloton to slow down before other activists entered the road and completely neutralized the race. “The worst-case scenario is that there is an accident like a fall, for example, Paul continued. There is no violence, we are not here to conflict.”
When police forces are in place, activists generally do not resist but do whatever it takes to get their message across. “We knew that if we didn’t do anything, we would all die,” recalls Paul, who was put in police custody like all Last Renovation activists.
“People are not very supportive”
If these messages were found more important, Sacha blamed the entire absence on “the reaction of the government or the representatives.” “People are scared”, alarmed the activist referring to the recent fires in the Gironde. These actions are not without risk. Outside the sports field, we remember that the activists were arrested by the police after trying to block the ring road in Paris. To date, nearly 120 activists from the collective have been jailed. Not to mention a segment of the population that does not support these disturbances.
“In general, people are not very supportive, Paul regrets. Others see our actions as too radical, not the same.” “Reactions are divided”, estimated for his part Sasha who prefers to keep the testimony of a lover of the Grande Boucle: “He watched the Tour de France and saw that the race was blocked. At first it got him drunk . Then he went to our website and came to one of our town hall meetings and said, ‘You’re doing a great job’.”
Tour de France, F1… heading for new action on Sunday?
If these actions create noise, the images will be rare. This Friday France TV, co-broadcaster of the Tour, did not show the pictures of the six Last Renovation activists. Alizé’s action at Roland-Garros was also not broadcast live. Too bad for Last Renovation. “We are angry with people watching”, sighs Sacha that we are “hiding the reality”: “We are not here to inform but to send a message.”
Whether there is a broadcaster or not, the operation will continue as long as the government does not change its policy. “Although we regret the inconvenience of this sporting competition and our fellow citizens in this way, we must bow to the government so that it respects the commitments it made for itself,” recalled in a press release . With the Tour coming to the Champs-Elysées and the Grand Prix de France in Le Castellet, Sunday looks good for a new coup. “You will see”, warned Sasha …