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Appeals begin for G7 protesters accused of stealing Macron portraits

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By Guillaume Petit
Protest in Bayonne
Protest in Bayonne   -   Copyright  Euronews

Six climate change activists are set to appear in court here in Lyon, France today, two months after they were accused of stealing portraits of the French President Emmanuel Macron.

They were taken from municipality buildings ahead of the G7 Summit in France in August.

The Green activists then marched through the town of Bayonne with the stolen posters as part of a civil disobedience campaign that they say was aimed at highlighting the difference between the French President’s promises to tackle climate change, and his government’s actions.

The first portraits were taken from public buildings in the cities of Lyon, Ustaritz and Biarritz back in February. The activists then called for 125 of the portraits to be stolen, matching the number of days it took France to exceed its annual carbon footprint allowance this year.

At one point, more than 80 activists were arrested over involvement in the thefts, with at least 45 set to face trial. The accused could face up 10 years in prison and a fine of up to €150,000 for the theft, if convictions are gained and upheld.

Euronews' Guillaume Petit covered the protests at the time, and has been following the trials closely since. He says what happens during these appeals could have significant consequences for future protests in France.