Violent clashes between opponents and gendarmes in the battle against Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport

On 30th October there were more violent scenes as hundreds of French police battled against protesters at Notre-Dame-des-Landes as the authorities tried to evict people from areas that are intended as part of the new Nantes airport.  A large area of good agricultural land is to be taken over, to build the second airport for Nantes. This means the eviction of a number of farmers from their land. There has been fierce opposition to the plans for months. Earlier in the year there was a hunger strike by some of the farmers, and their supporters, for a month. Hundreds of local people, as well as socialists and anti-globalisation protesters have fought hard to prevent this airport being built. They say it is not needed, there is not a good economic case for it, and at a time when France should  be cutting its CO2 emissions, this new airport will only serve to increase carbon.


There  is dramatic video (2 minutes) of stand-off between police & residents resisting demolition of homes to make way for new Nantes airport   

On 30th night, there were demonstations in 6 French cities in support of Nantes campaigners including a flash mob in Paris.

Thereis more information at  Nantes International Airport – not yet built  and news of what has been happening there over the past year or so at Nantes Airport News

Scenes from the battle against Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport

[Apologies for imperfect translation into English below].

Violent clashes, face to face conflict , taking place this morning at Sabot , a gathering place for opponents of the airport Notre Dame des Landes.


On Tuesday morning the police launched a new operation to remove opponents of airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes  and sharp clashes occurred, captures by an AFP photographer. The clashes focus on the place called Le Sabot, one of the gathering places of opponents to this airport project, which is scheduled to open in 2017. The forces used explosive grenades, and pepper grenades,  as well as tear gas, according to the same source. A helicopter was flying over the area permanently. Following sharp clashes, up to melee face to face clashes, a pause was brought about shortly before 8 h 30, the police apparently waiting for the arrival of reinforcements. Both sides faced each other less than 200 meters apart.

The announcement of the evacuation was filtered out on Monday evening. In anticipation of this, the opponents tring to slow down the evictions that started operations two weeks ago, had dug trenches in recent days and set up roadblocks to slow the progression of law enforcement, including felling trees across roads, fires were lit, including burningpallets.
At the call of several agricultural organizations, a meeting was scheduled Tuesday morning at Sabot, a place for growing vegetables, in support of farmers threatened by the new airport project. 
Demonstration area cordoned off
 New demonstrators from the village of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, tried to join the Sabot protest where there is the confrontation between police and opponents of the airport. They were stopped by the gendarmes, due to the violent clashes still in progress.
Full article in French at

See also

Notre-Dame-des-Landes: evictions turn to trench warfare

30-10-2012   (Article in English from Metro)
Clashes between police

Opponents to the airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes defended their ZAD (“final area of autonomy”) against the forces Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Opponents of the construction of the airport clash with security forces since Tuesday morning in the grove Nantes. EELV elected officials came to support them.

“Nothing justifies this brutality.” Julien Durand, retired farmer and spokesman of the association ACIPA reached by Metro, assists since Thursday morning “harassment in spurts” of forces around the site of Sabot at Notre Dame des-Landes. The shared garden has become a landmark in the fight against the proposed new airport north of Nantes. Since early morning, opponents and mobile police violently confront each other: first dug trenches across the road and erected barricades, where they throw projectiles, the second replicate to teargas and rubber bullets.
“Neither heroes nor martyrs”

A few kilometers away, the police have evacuated a house in La Sauldre, despite resistance from several dozen people. “I was indoors. Twenty-five gendarmes returned. We are neither heroes nor martyrs. They took me out and threatened police custody, told Metro Geneviève Coiffard, President of ACIPA . But the young are not going to let it grow out without showing their determination. “

This 65 year old woman was wounded in the hand last week in clashes the same type. Indeed, evacuations have already taken place on 9, 15 and 16 October at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, to begin preparatory work at the site of the airport. Action called “Operation Caesar,” which is a lot Coiffard Genevieve laugh: “It is the arrogance of the Roman conquerors in the land of Asterix, I do not know what bureaucrat had this idea!”

A project championed by Ayrault

The critics are not against the new airport project, which must destroy hundreds of hectares of farmland 30 kilometers north of Nantes. But muscular evacuations have increased solidarity between farmers and grove of young people came to protest by sitting in abandoned farms.

The fight takes a turn as national, especially as the project is championed by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mayor of Nantes old. “This new show of force against militants who have chosen to oppose an absurd project, including an environmental point of view, is a clear signal sent by the government, said Bruno Julliard, of Greenpeace . At eve of the debate on energy, it does not bode well for future discussions. ” dozen NGOs have arrested Jean-Marc Ayrault an open letter last Thursday.

“The devastating impact of the images of civil war”

Fifteen elected EELV were present at the scene of the clashes.In a statement, the party “demands the immediate cessation of operations during destruction and calls for a return to reason.”Dominique Voynet, which was received at the Elysée as mayor of Montreuil, said on Twitter that she “could share a moment with François Hollande and tell him our incomprehension repression” and that the President was “aware of the devastating images of civil war in Notre-Dame-des-Landes. “!UHV4pbTxmkXD2/


See also

Notre Dame des Landes continues to resist!

October 30th, 2012


We salute the courage and tenacity of the defenders of the ZAD who resist the occupation forces government orders Holland / Ayrault despite obvious attempt isolation media and extreme violence of the police who want to expel those opposed to that 2000 hectares of groves of Britain are delivered to the multinational VINCI.

We emphasize here the dangers posed to the airport opponents Notre Dame des Landes who ordered the police to destroy houses and huts, hit it with a mechanical device in which a tree is an opponent, draw to fire rubber bullets to tense, wound with pieces of grenades at the demonstrators.


a comrade wounded by a grenade range.
firing of rubber bullets police government PS / EELV

We welcome the presence at the scene this morning of peasants and opponents alongside historical occupants of the ZAD.

We believe that their presence as support initiatives undertaken these last days to Chateaubriant, Vannes, Nantes, Rennes, Redon make visible a popular anchorage opponents including Britain.

We urge our members and supporters to participate in all initiatives support can come in the days ahead, we must constrain each component of the political position and to accept the consequences.


to the local PS Saint Brieuc today.

We hope that the trade unions and political associations translate their support to the occupiers of the ZAD into concrete actions on the ground, it will be possible November 17 at the event reoccupation. ZAD See press

As today we will be there. And you?

Direction Breizhistance IS.




French police teargas anti-airport protest

Tag on a wall in Notre Dame-Des-Landes where the new airport is going to be built


By RFI English

There were violent clashes on Tuesday as police tried to clear a camp of protestors at Notre Dame-des-Landes, the site of a proposed new airport near Nantes in western France.

Witnesses say police used pepper grenades and tear gas as well as flashballs, to try to control the situation.  There are unconfirmed reports of injuries.

“We were faced with very determined opponents, who have increased considerably in number over the weekend, following internet appeals. Security forces had to deal with violent projectile attacks and disperse groups of assailants using tear gas”, said a communiqué issued by the regional police.

The police intend to continue to dismantle the camps so that preliminary work clearing the undergrowth can begin.

Police began trying to evacuate the Le Sabot area, where the opposition to the camp first began. A group of about fifteen protestors remain on the roof at Le Sabot.

Around twenty tractors were ordered to turn back under threat of a charge by riot police, according to a passenger in one of the tractors.

Farmers are among those protesting against the construction of the airport, which is being built on protected swampland.

The project is financed partly by the state and partly by private investors, and the intention is to replace the current airport Nantes Atlantique, which is to the south of the city area.

Until he was appointed Prime Minister in June, Jean-Marc Ayrault was Mayor of Nantes.





Nantes airport: Duflot disapproves


The Minister of Housing, Cécile Duflot, questioned on Wednesday’s clashes around Nantes airport project, said that “repression and lack of dialogue” was not “the right way”, recalling her “disagreement on this project “. was the responsible environmentalist questioned by RTL on the eve of the intervention forces against opponents of the project at Notre Dame des Landes, supported by Jean-Marc Ayrault, former Mayor of Nantes and the Prime Minister.

” There is old and officially recorded disagreement on this project, nothing new under the sun, “she said. “I am not a minister of law and order but I do not think on subjects as complex as this, repression and lack of dialogue are the right way,” she added.

” I disagree on this point, and that is known by the prime minister, “added the minister.  “This project, as well as other infrastructure projects” is “considered in the context of a commission under the responsibility of Frédéric Cuvillier, Minister of Transport, with whom I get along very well, to say that at a time when it is necessary to save public money, we will have to choose, ” argued the former head of Europe Ecologie-Les Verts.

“This debate exists, there is no taboo”. EELV protested yesterday after heated clashes in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, where, according to the prefecture of Loire-Atlantique  there have  been six minor injuries to the security forces who pursued the evacuation site.


The original French:

La ministre du Logement, Cécile Duflot, interrogée mercredi sur les affrontements autour du projet d’aéroport nantais, a estimé que la “répression et le manque de dialogue” n’étaient pas “la bonne méthode”, rappelant son “désaccord sur ce projet”.

La responsable écologiste était questionnée par RTL sur l’intervention la veille des forces de l’ordre contre les opposants au projet de Notre-Dame des Landes, soutenu par Jean-Marc Ayrault, ex-maire de Nantes et premier ministre.

“Il y a un désaccord sur ce projet, ancien et acté, rien de nouveau sous le soleil”, a-t-elle dit. “Je ne suis pas ministre du maintien de l’ordre mais je ne crois pas que sur des sujets aussi compliqués, la répression et le manque de dialogue – ce qui est le cas – soient la bonne méthode”, a-t-elle ajouté.

“Mon désaccord sur ce point, il est connu par le premier ministre”, a poursuivi la ministre. “Ce projet éventuel, comme d’autres projets d’infrastructures” est “étudié dans le cadre d’une commission sous la responsabilité de Frédéric Cuvillier, ministre des Transports, avec qui je m’entends très bien, pour dire qu’à un moment où il faut économiser les deniers publics, il va falloir choisir”, a encore argumenté l’ex-responsable d’Europe Ecologie-Les Verts. “Ce débat, il existe”, il “n’y a pas de tabou”.

EELV avait protesté hier après les vifs affrontements à Notre-Dame-des-Landes, qui, selon la préfecture de Loire-Atlantique ont fait six blessés légers côté forces de l’ordre qui poursuivaient l’évacuation du site.