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Greenpeace activists climb Eiffel Tower to protest Marine Le Pen before France election

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WATCH ABOVE: Greenpeace activists scale Eiffel Tower to hang banner – May 5, 2017

Ahead of the presidential election taking place in France on Sunday, 12 Greenpeace activists scaled the side of the Eiffel tower with a message.

“Liberté Egalité, Fraternité,” read the banner strung between the legs of the Paris icon, along with the hashtag #RESIST stamped in the lower left-hand corner. Greenpeace activists climbed the monument as “a wake-up call,” said the French executive director of the group, Jean-Francois Julliard, in a statement sent to Global News.

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“Greenpeace is an independent and apolitical organization. But we can’t remain silent while the National Front party might come to power. This action at the Eiffel tower this morning was a wake-up call. We don’t want this party to hijack the universal values of the French republic’s motto, imprisoning them behind closed borders or refusing their application to all,” Julliard continued.

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The environmental organization staged the action as a protest against the National Front. Marine Le Pen led the party until last month, when she stepped down to focus on her bid for the presidency heading into Sunday’s election.

The protest came on the final day of campaigning for the two candidates, centrist Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen.

READ MORE: French protesters clash with police as Marine Le Pen warns of ‘rampant globalization’

In an interview with a French public radio station following the protest, Julliard explained that Greenpeace wanted to make a clear statement against the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism in France.

“This is our way of reminding everybody they all need to mobilize to defend these values of liberty, equality and fraternity,”  Julliard said.

Julliard went on to say in the statement to Global that lots of countries are experiencing “the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism, fed by legitimate concerns about unemployment, poverty, increasing inequalities and policies that are detrimental to the general interest.”

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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace
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Today at 7h45, 12 activists unfurled a 300 meters square banner from the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the message Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité #Resist". ("Liberty, equality, fraternity" is the French Republic’s motto). Greenpeace

Paris city hall says security measures around the Eiffel Tower have been tightened. City officials say sniffer dog patrols have been doubled and video monitoring in the area has been improved.

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The 12 Greenpeace climbers were taken into custody.

 

— With files from Reuters.

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