The radical environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion on Thursday claimed the sabotage of 3,600 electric scooters in Paris and other French cities, saying the green image of the fashionable gadgets hid an "ecologically catastrophic" reality.
Its action came as thousands of commuters in Paris took to the scooters in a bid to overcome a nationwide strike in France that is expected to paralyse public transport across the country for days.
Extinction Rebellion said it had sabotaged 3,600 scooters, including over 2,000 in Paris as well as in Bordeaux and Lyon, by obscuring the QR codes that riders use to unlock them with their smartphones.
"Contrary to their reputation as a 'soft' or 'green' way of getting around, the electric scooters are ecologically catastrophic," the group said in a statement on its French Facebook page.
The damage to the scooters was reversible, the group said.
It claimed that using the scooter still involved the emission of some 25 percent of greenhouses cases that would be emitted if the journey was made by car, and 40 times that of a journey by public transport.
It also argued that studies showed that rather than replacing car journeys, people opt for e-scooters rather than going on foot.
"The electric scooter is just a toy of green capitalists, we don't want them in our cities," the group added, also condemning their use as "strike-breakers" by commuters in the shutdown.
The use of the scooters has mushroomed in Paris over the last year, with many regarding them as a nuisance which clutter up the city and have a much deeper environmental footprint than at first apparent.
But operators insist they do have a positive environmental impact, with everything done to ensure recycling and a minimum of emissions.
Extinction Rebellion has staged a string of colourful but disruptive actions in Britain and elsewhere in Europe in a bid to draw attention to the effects of climate change.
Some commuters took to the scooters as a national strike hit much of the public transport network in Paris and other cities across France -- but some radical environmentalists say their footprint is not as green as many might think