French protesters challenge Amazon's expansion

Amazon in France is in the firing line again.

Climate activists piled up giant cardboard delivery boxes outside the finance ministry in Paris on Friday (December 4).

The protest was against Amazon's expansion in France and came as the online retailer launched its delayed "Black Friday" sales drive.

Gathered in the ministry's courtyard, the protesters rolled out a banner on the building's facade bearing the slogan "change of owner".

It featured the faces of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The campaigners view the U.S. retail giant as a prime factor in the urbanization of farmland, a process they say is contributing significantly to climate change:

"Amazon is destroying the climate and jobs in France. They are planning to impose themselves massively in France with dozens of warehouses already built across the country and another dozen to be built, and what we are asking for is a moratorium to be set up, just as the citizens' convention for climate has asked, to freeze the expansion of this company in France."

Amazon's global revenues have soared during the pandemic.

Its ability to keep selling during lockdowns has deepened frustration among French opponents, including traditional shop owners.

A long battle over safety measures this spring led to the temporary closure of Amazon's French warehouses.

Last month, under government pressure, the company postponed its Black Friday campaign to help shopkeepers struggling during France's second national lockdown.

Reacting to Friday's protest, Amazon said it had become the mouthpiece of organizations that often made use of "misleading" information.

It said it has invested $11 billion in France and created 130,000 jobs.