The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 27, 2021 1:00 am

Protesters hit Amazon centers in Europe on job, climate issues

KELVIN CHAN | Associated Press

Climate activists blockaded Amazon warehouses in three European countries Friday, part of a global effort to pressure the e-commerce giant on one of its busiest days of the year to improve working conditions and end business practices that hurt the environment.

Members of Extinction Rebellion targeted 13 Amazon fulfillment centers in the United Kingdom with the aim of disrupting 50% of the company's deliveries on Black Friday, which marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. They staged similar protests in Germany and the Netherlands.

At least 30 people were arrested at multiple U.K. locations, with some held on suspicion of aggravated trespass or public nuisance, police said.

Extinction Rebellion and dozens of other activist groups in the U.S. and around the world organized the protests to demand Amazon provide better working conditions, commit to operating sustainably and pay its fair share of tax.

In the U.S., labor activists planned a small protest at Amazon's fulfillment center on Staten Island, New York.

Amazon did not directly address the protests in response to a request for comment, but said the company takes its responsibilities very seriously.

“That includes our commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement – providing excellent pay and benefits in a safe and modern work environment, and supporting the tens of thousands of British small businesses who sell on our store,” the company said.

Activists in the U.K. blocked the entrance to Amazon's warehouse in Tilbury, just east of London, with an effigy of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sitting on top of a rocket.


French fisherman block flow of goods to UK

CALAIS, France – French fishing crews briefly blocked French ports, ferry traffic across the English Channel and the freight entrance to the Eurotunnel on Friday to disrupt the flow of goods to the U.K., in a protest over post-Brexit fishing licenses. French fishermen are angry at the British government for not granting more licenses to fish in U.K. waters – and angry at their own government for not doing more to defend them. The industry is economically tiny but symbolically important for both nations.

– Associated Press

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