Horizon Social Media Analysis


Are ecological activists dangerous ?

While the state of emergency is still in effect in France, ecological activists feel directly targeted by the authorities. Can home detention, arrests and banning protests be justified by security concerns? Or do they just reveal political hostility?

Support is almost unanimous. According to data collected by COP21Horizon, 78% of Internet users think that activists should be able to protest in France during COP21, a figure which rises to 86% when based uniquely on French data.


If only 22% of Internet users are in favour of banning protests, this is certainly because the data does not include a silent majority, much less active on social media. According to a survey published by IFOP last week, nine French citizens out of ten support the state of emergency and the security measures that go with it. Our data also reflects this trend; the top argument used to justify protest bans is that of security.

Silent majority and political operation

The world climate march on Sunday the 29th of November was banned from taking place in Paris. Although the state of emergency had been extended to three months on 20th November, thousands of people went against the ban to march on République square, causing fierce clashes with security forces, and more than 200 arrests.

Protesters against the police in Paris

Anger is still rising on the activists’ side. Over the last few days, 24 of them have been placed under house arrest until the 12th of November, the day COP21 officially ends. According to many militants, they are the victims of a political operation. Many NGOs, even non-environmental ones, are now urging people to defy the state of emergency. The debate is no longer just about the environment, it has spread to the issue of freedom in general.



© Benoit Tessier / Reuters / Eric Gaillard