Paris police break up Seine River protest by Greenpeace ahead of key debate on nuclear power



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PARIS — Police in Paris detained five Greenpeace activists on Monday after they dangled from a bridge and unfurled banners on the Seine River that call for cuts in nuclear power, the environmental group said.

France has the world's highest reliance on nuclear power — about two-thirds of its current energy production — and parliament is going to debate nuclear power this week. The activists protested on a bridge near the National Assembly, parliament's lower house.

The banners — one floating on the water — showed a picture of President Francois Hollande and his campaign pledge to reduce France's dependency on nuclear power to 50 percent by 2025.

A Senate bill on nuclear power passed last week made no reference to that deadline. But the National Assembly has approved the timetable, and representatives from each chamber are working out the details starting Tuesday.

Energy and Environment Minister Segolene Royal said Greenpeace wants France out of nuclear energy production altogether and "that's not the government's position." Asked on BFM-TV about the Greenpeace operation, she re-affirmed the 2025 date and said "there's no need to polemicize it."

In December, Paris is to host a U.N.-backed conference of 190 countries that aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions as part of efforts to fight global warming.

"As a host of the climate summit, France has to come to the negotiations with a proper plan — a plan that reduces its share of nuclear to develop renewables" like wind and solar energy, said Greenpeace climate activist Cyrille Cormier. "Renewables are the only way to fight against climate change."

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