“The peasant mobilization is to go beyond expectations,” said an organizer …
The protest against the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes was full on Saturday. According to organizers, it attracted 20,000 people Saturday on the ring road around Nantes, although police are estimating a figure of 7,200 demonstrators.
— Ouest-France (@OuestFrance) January 9, 2016
“The peasant mobilization is to go beyond expectations,” commented Julien Durand, spokesman for the ACIPA, the main opponents of association of Nantes airport project. “Today it is for Francois Hollande today to acknowledge the extraordinary mobilization in Nantes (…). We need the process (judicial) evictions to stop before Wednesday “when a hearing is scheduled in Nantes calling for the expulsion of fifteen inhabitants of the site planned for the project.
Notre-Dame-des-Landes: départ de la manifestation
— ACIPA (@ACIPA_NDL) January 9, 2016
The mobilization is in any case the strongest since the demonstration on February 22, 2014, when at least 20,000 people gathered in the city centre of Nantes. But unlike the rally which had resulted in damage and clashes with security forces, Saturday’s demonstration took place in a friendly atmosphere, with “a large banquet” organized along mid-way along the ring road, usually reserved for vehicles.
Traffic disrupted on the Ring Road
Traffic was disrupted on the ring road but also the access to the nearby airport of Nantes Atlantique. The demonstration was not to enter the city centre, a “deliberate choice” of the organizers to avoid the recurrence of violence in 2014. The organizers have planned to call to the dispersion from 3.30pm, while rain is expected on region.
Behind a banner “Neither deportation or trial,” protesters converged at the sound of the drum to the Cheviré bridge, an imposing work, windswept, which spans the Loire River downstream from the city centre. Among the crowd, protesters of all ages, most with big jackets, shoes and woollen caps, and for a hike on highway. Protesters waved flags and placards that read “No to deportation, yes to the peasants” or “Neither expulsion or trial.”
Arm wrestling for 15 years
Wednesday, Aéroports du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of the Vinci Group and the future airport concessionaire intends to apply to the High Court of Nantes immediate eviction of 11 families and four farmers, coupled with a daily fine of 200 to 1,000 euros and a sequestration of their property and livestock if they do not comply.
This new mobilization of opponents at the airport for 15 years engaged in a legal tussle in addition to an occupation on the ground, made more than two months after the announcement, on October 30, a stimulus “for 2016 “of the project, after approval by the Nantes Administrative Court of prefectural orders authorizing the start of construction.
As for the supporters of the project, the association “Des Ailes pour l’Ouest” argues that unlike the fifteen occupants facing eviction, 260 other residents have accepted the compensation procedures. “This state of emergency in full manifestation is a real provocation of people who reject the democratic decisions and judgments,” accuses Alain Mustière in a statement, the president of the association.