PARIS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Paris has banned private cars from its central area for seven hours on Sunday in a bid to promote the fight against pollution and climate change.
From 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) to 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) local time, all private cars (with few exceptions) were forbidden to drive on the streets of the French capital. Drivers who disobeyed the ban would be fined 135 euros (about 159 U.S. dollars).
Paris started to observe such an event since 2015 but Sunday's ban is the first time that private transport was forbidden in the entire center of Paris, which covers about 100 square km.
The municipal government said it had mobilized nearly 1,000 police officers to patrol the streets. But the goal is "not to sanction," it said.
Anne Hidalgo, the major of Paris and an outspoken advocate for environmental protection, believes that reducing car use is an effective way to fight pollution in the City of Lights. A "car-free" day, in her opinion, can raise awareness of alternative transportation methods and shows Parisians what life would be like with few cars on the streets.
However, many car owners were angered by the ban. Social networks are bursting with protests over it. A Facebook page calling "to drive on Anne Hidalgo's bike lanes" has attracted several thousand likes.