Protesters outside the Salle Pleyel hall in Paris could be heard chanting “all we want is to knock down Total” and “one, two, three degrees, we have Total to thank.”

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French riot police on Friday fired tear gas at hundreds of climate activists who tried to prevent the oil giant’s annual general meeting Total energy from happening.

Activists from campaign groups including, Friends of the Earth France and Scientists in Rebellion had promised to try to stop the AGM from taking place to condemn TotalEnergy’s fossil fuel expansion.

Protesters outside the Salle Pleyel hall in Paris could be heard chanting “all we want is to take down Total” and “one, two, three degrees, we have Total to thank”, according to the AFP news agency.

It comes amid a sense of palpable frustration among climate activists during the proxy voting season, with demonstrations also takes place on British oil majors BP and Shell in recent weeks after an extraordinary run of record profits.

Clashes broke out between protesters and police shortly before the shareholder meeting began, with investors ultimately rejecting an activist resolution calling on the company to align its climate goals with the landmark The Paris Agreement and commits to absolute reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Police officers fire tear gas to disperse climate activists during a protest outside the TotalEnergie SE annual meeting venue in Paris, France, Friday, May 26, 2023.

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The resolution, submitted by Dutch shareholder group Follow This and 17 institutional investors with 1.1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) under management, received 30% of the vote, up from 17% the last time a similar vote was held in 2020.

“Financial institutions have stepped up their efforts to combat the climate crisis,” Tarek Bouhouch of Follow This said in a statement.

“The vote is crucial to force Big Oil to reduce emissions. Big Oil can make or break the Paris climate accords and must answer to shareholders,” Bouhouch said.

TotalEnergies had urged shareholders to vote against the resolution, saying it “does not provide a credible response to the challenges of climate change and would be against the interests of the company, its shareholders and customers.”

Combustion of fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal, is the main driving force behind the climate crisis.

Record profits

At BP’s annual general meeting last monthsupport for a follow This resolution calling for tougher emissions reduction targets by the end of the decade came in at just 17%, up from 15% last year.

At Shell’s general meeting earlier this weeksupport for a similar resolution put forward by Follow This came in at 20%, the same as in 2022.

Big Oil posted big profits last year, boosted by rising fossil fuel prices and strong demand, after Russia’s full-scale the invasion of Ukraine.

TotalEnergies for its part reported net profit of $36.2 billion in 2022, doubling the result from the previous year.

Shares in the company traded almost 0.9% higher on Friday afternoon. The stock has fallen by around 5.5 percent so far this year.