After huge protest against Nantes airport on 22nd February, ACIPA reaffirms its values

At the huge protest in Nantes, on 22nd February, regrettably there was some violence, some rioting and a harsh response from the police and security services –  with some injuries. The organisers of the event, ACIPA, have written of their regret about the disturbance, but their determination to continue the battle against the planned airport – in unspoiled French farmland. ACIPA say the want to thank all participants who responded overwhelmingly to the call for a peaceful and festive family event.  They regret that protesters were unable to follow the planned route of the protest, and that there were some difficulties with the organisation of this huge demonstration. ACIPA reiterates its full support to the people injured and invites them to get in touch if necessary. They intend to continue protests in a peaceful and determined way, and are grateful to the support committees across France, helping in their fight.  They continue to hope legal challenges on water and biodiversity loss will make the planned airport illegal. 


Imperfect translation into English (original French below):

Event on February 22nd in Nantes against planned Notre Dame des Landes airport

– ACIPA reaffirms its values


Following the demonstration of 22 February 2014 and following questions from different persons or committees of support, ACIPA wishes to reaffirm its thinking on its opposition to the planned Notre Dame des Landes airport:

The ACIPA thank all participants who responded overwhelmingly to the call for a peaceful and festive family event, which was attended by 50,000 people and 520 tractors, signifying an unprecedented mobilization. ACIPA regretted that protesters were unable to follow the route of the protest, as planned, and also recognizes some difficulties in organizing this ambitious project. It condemns unequivocally committed the damage that was done. For the damage done, the orchestrated media hype was not justified. ACIPA denounced the blocking of the city center of Nantes, the provocative presence of security forces and the use of weapons that have caused terrible injuries to some demonstrators. The ACIPA reiterates its full support to the injured and invites them to get in touch if necessary at the email address acipa.secretaire @

Our actions have and will keep a peaceful and determined character. We thank the support committees supporting the fight for sharing our values, and acting, where they are, in the same spirit as us.

The ACIPA continues unabated in its efforts to achieve the commitment by policy makers to work on optimizing Nantes Atlantique airport – as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has recognized it as possible – and the final abandonment of the Notre Dame des Landes airport project.

ACIPA denounces the lies and manipulations of Government services on the technical and economic issues, issues on which – responding to the request of the Committee on dialogue – opponents have worked seriously and whose conclusions were despised or ignored.

ACIPA reiterates its full support to farmers, tenants and homeowners in the area defined in the Declaration of Public Utility, which are expropriated, and therefore made removable, but are always protected by the political agreement called ” strike hunger ” in May 2012. ACIPA also supports the new inhabitants and reaffirms that free access to plots for farmers must be respected in the area, as well as normal traffic on the 281 county (road?).

ACIPA will continue to inform the public of its actions based on the three pillars of the struggle – which are citizen resistance on the ground, political will and legal actions. The latter, in particular those carried out under the Water Act and the law on protected species, demonstrate that the proposed Notre Dame des Landes airport is not legally valid.

Politicians should honestly grasp this reality because the decision which will sound the cessation of the Notre Dame des Landes airport project is their responsibility.



Original in French:


Manifestation du 22 février – l’ACIPA réaffirme ses valeurs

Suite à la manif du 22 février 2014 et suite aux interrogations de différentes personnes ou comités de soutien, l’ACIPA tient à réaffirmer sa manière de concevoir l’opposition au projet de Notre Dame des Landes :

L’ACIPA remercie tous les participants qui ont répondu massivement à son appel pour une manifestation familiale, pacifique et festive qui a réuni 50 000 personnes et 520 tracteurs, signifiant ainsi une mobilisation jamais égalée. Elle déplore que des manifestants n’aient pas pu suivre le parcours comme prévu et reconnaît aussi quelques difficultés dans l’organisation de cette opération ambitieuse. Elle condamne sans ambiguïté les dégradations perpétrées. Elle n’est pas pour autant dupe de la manipulation orchestrée et s’indigne du battage médiatique organisé. Elle dénonce le blocage du centre ville de Nantes, la présence provocatrice des forces de l’ordre et l’utilisation d’armes qui ont occasionné de terribles blessures chez les manifestants. L’ACIPA réitère tout son soutien aux blessés et les invite à prendre contact si nécessaire par l’adresse

Nos actions ont et garderont un caractère pacifique et déterminé. Nous remercions les comités de soutien à la lutte de partager nos valeurs et d’agir, là où ils sont, dans le même esprit que nous.

L’ACIPA continue sans fléchir son action pour aboutir à l’engagement par les décideurs de travailler sur l’optimisation de Nantes Atlantique – puisque la Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile l’a reconnue possible – et à l’abandon définitif du projet d’aéroport de Notre Dame des Landes.

Elle dénonce les mensonges et les manipulations des services de l’Etat dans les dossiers techniques et économiques, dossiers sur lesquels – répondant à la demande de la commission du dialogue – les opposants ont travaillé avec sérieux, et dont les conclusions ont été méprisées ou ignorées.

Elle redit son soutien total aux exploitants agricoles, aux locataires et aux propriétaires de maisons sur la zone définie dans la Déclaration d’Utilité Publique, qui sont expropriés, donc de fait expulsables, mais toujours protégés par l’accord politique dit “de la grève de la faim” de mai 2012. Elle soutient également les nouveaux habitants et réaffirme que le libre accès aux parcelles pour les exploitants agricoles doit être respecté sur la zone, ainsi que la circulation normale sur la départementale 281.

Elle continuera d’informer la population de ses actions basées sur les trois piliers de la lutte que sont la résistance citoyenne sur le terrainle volet politique et les actions juridiques. Ces dernières, notamment celles menées au titre de la Loi sur l’Eau et des espèces protégées, démontrent que le projet de Notre Dame des Landes n’est pas valide juridiquement. Les politiques devront honnêtement s’emparer de cette réalité car la décision qui sonnera l’arrêt du projet de Notre Dame des Landes est bien de leur ressort.





Huge protest in centre of Nantes against new airport – forceful police resistance; some rioting, violence and injuries

February 23, 2014

La manifestation des opposants à l'aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes a dégénéré samedi 22 février à Nantes.

A huge protest took place in Nantes on 22nd February, against the planned new replacement airport to be built at Notre Dame des Landes, some miles to the north. The organisers estimated some 50 – 60,000 protesters, who came in from supportive groups from regions all across France. There are reported to have been 65 coach loads of protesters who travelled to Nantes to take part, and 520 tractors, brought by supportive farmers from surrounding areas. The protests were put down with considerable force by the police, using water canon, rubber bullets and tear gas. The issue has become very political in France. With elections coming up this year, the Prime Minister (and former Mayor of Nantes and ardent backer of the new airport) is thought unlikely to back down from pressing for the airport. However, it is not thought likely that there will be forceful evictions of the farmers and activists who are occupying the land allocated for the airport, called the ZAD – Zone à Défendre as it would be unpopular. An opinion poll found 56% of those surveyed were against the new airport. The courts have ruled it can go ahead, but there are appeals on ground of the law on water and on biodiversity.   Click here to view full story..

And Blog

The Nantes protest and rioting against proposed airport – blog by John Stewart

23.2.2014In a blog about the huge demonstration, part of which turned in to rioting, at Nantes against the proposed  new airport, John Stewart looks at how this protest came about – and its relevance to other large infrastructure projects in Europe. The Nantes protest organisers say as many as 50,000 people attended, from supportive protest committees from areas across France. The politics of this airport project have taken on national interest and significance, and also linked into opposition to “Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposes” (useless, imposed mega-projects).  The people passionately fighting plans for a new airport in unspoiled French farming countryside are linked to those opposing HS2 and other schemes like a high-speed rail in Northern Italy and cyanide-mined gold extraction project in Romania. All these projects have managed to get support from very disparate sections of society. They all have real doubts about the economics or the necessity of the project; also they have land, homes, countryside or communities to defend; there is significant local opposition; and they also attract in outside opposition, from people with a variety of  perspective as well as environmental.