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This is the camp training France's new generation of climate activists

Climate activists take part in a workshop at the 2019 Camp Climat in Kingersheim, France.
Climate activists take part in a workshop at the 2019 Camp Climat in Kingersheim, France. Copyright Gwenaelle Medici/Camp Climat/Alternatiba
Copyright Gwenaelle Medici/Camp Climat/Alternatiba
By Alice Tidey
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"The leitmotiv of all these people is that they have already marched for the climate this year but they want to go a little further," a spokesperson for the camp told Euronews.


On August 10, hundreds of climate crisis activists armed with catchy, colourful signs plan to descend on the town of Queenersheim to have their voices heard by world leaders convened to a summit there by "President Manuel Patron".

To resist the expected strong police presence they plan to sit on the road and link their arms and legs. When officers start to break the human chain, they will make the process that much harder and slower for law enforcement by letting their bodies go limp to become dead weight.

N’attendons pas qu’il soit trop tard pour agir ! Manuel Patron n'attend pas et s'engage pour le climat en accueillant...

Publiée par One Planet Seum-It sur Dimanche 4 août 2019

The town of Queenersheim does not exist. Neither does President Manuel Patron (French for "boss"). No summit will be taking place.

The protest will really be held in the Alsacian town of Kingersheim, in France. The strong police presence and the world media assembled there to cover the protest will really be played by climate activists.

The whole affair has been dubbed a "simulated action" by organisers and will cap off 12 days of a climate activism camp. It is meant to allow activists to test their newly-acquired skills in non-violent civil disobedience.

'Demand for training in civil action'

The "Camp Climat" (Climate Camp) is now in its third year and with the climate movement becoming more vocal and more focused, its popularity has increased. 

In its inaugural year, 300 people attended, last year that figured had doubled and organisers believe 1,000 people will come during this year's camp.

"We really feel that we have grown, that the climate movement has grown, and that there is a demand for training in civil action," Zoe Lavocat, spokesperson for the Alternatiba-ANV-COP21, one of the organisations involved in the camp, told Euronews.

"Blocking, resistance and crossing techniques in action", "know and control the relationship with the police" and "first aid in action" are among the dozens of workshops available to activists.

There, through role-playing, they will learn how to interact with law enforcement, how to form a strong human barrier, allow their bodies to become dead weight or make an armlock — a cardboard or plastic tube protesters use to form a human chain.

Other workshops will teach them how to organise a protest, how to communicate their message through signs or social media, how best to engage with media and politicians or what their rights are.

Florent, 28, has already taken part in several demonstrations so at the camp, he's "primarily focusing on digital self-defence: how to protect my personal data, what free software are available, that type of things," he told Euronews.

But for him, the real benefit of the camp is that it "brings together people and activists, which can create synergies and relationships to facilitate future actions and partnerships".

READ MORE: Greta Thunberg: 'We need to do so much more,' says teenage climate change activist

Trials and elections

The attendees "are extremely diverse," Lavocat said. "We have youngsters who have attended Fridays for Future strikes as well as families with young kids and elderly people."


"The leitmotiv of all these people is that they have already marched for the climate this year but they want to go a little further," she went on.

Some might use their new skills in just two weeks time when leaders of the world's most powerful nations gather in Biarritz for the G7. But the camp aims to arm activists for the long run.

Alternatiba has an ongoing "campaign against Amazon to denounce the multinational's behaviour and preparations for the French municipal elections [in 2020] to mobilise candidates to the climate issue," Lavocat explained.

The group and Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) will also support some of their activists in trials later this year after they were arrested for taking down portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron from 125 town halls across the country.


The non-violent action was to protest what they say is his lack of action towards tackling the climate crisis.

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