A group of climate change activists disrupted Stage 10 of the Tour de France on Tuesday, halting the riders with flares on mile 71 of the 92-mile-long race.
Protesters wearing t-shirts with the message “989 days left” occupied the roadway and lit pink flares, effectively stopping the race for 12 minutes. Dernière Rénovation, a French climate change activist group, took credit for the protest.
The group promotes a “campaign of civil resistance that aims to achieve a political victory over energy renovation, through non-violent disruption actions repeated over time.” (RELATED: Protests Rage As Chinese Banks Won’t Let People Withdraw Their Funds)
Breaking: Tour de France stops due to protest! #TDF2022 https://t.co/27DrCGsXD8 pic.twitter.com/1PSPg1uxiE
— CyclingUpToDate (@CyclingUpToDat3) July 12, 2022
Alice, one of the group’s activists who participated in the protest, pinned politicians as the main threat to the planet’s future.
“The reality is that the world which the politicians are sending us towards is a world in which the Tour de France will no longer be able to exist,” Alice wrote, according to the cycling website road.cc. “We must act and enter into civil resistance today to save what remains to be saved.”
French authorities had to haul the protesters out of the roadway before placing them in custody, the Washington Examiner reported. Photos and videos show the protesters appeared to have chained themselves together by the neck, apparently refusing to move until they had to be forcibly dragged by tour officials.
Tour de France stopped due to environmental protest, race now resumed. Some had a nice relaxing time at the side of the road. (Getty Images) #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/OALSXIkVOW
— adam becket at le tour (@adambecket) July 12, 2022
Sir Bradley Wiggins, who rode a motorcycle in the race, spoke to the television channel Eurosport about the incident. “It really was going off. It was quite crazy. A lot of people getting quite angry, some of the directeur sportifs got out the cars, stuck a boot in,” he said, according to The Irish Times.
This is not the first time the Tour has been a target of protests. The climate protests took place after race organizers pledged a commitment to reduce their carbon footprint, citing cycling as a “source of well-being” which “helps to improve air quality and reduce environmental risks.”