Protests and mobilisations on Saturday 9th January against evictions for planned Nantes airport at NDDL

On Saturday 9th January, there will again be huge mobilisations of people against the planned new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), in western France. Not only will there be gatherings at NDDL itself, and in Nantes but the many support committees in other places across France will plan mobilisations too. These included a bike convoy and a protest on foot in Paris, where people will be singing and dancing and giving out literature. The protest is because the authorities plan to carry out compulsory evictions on the 11 families and 4 farms in the ZAD (the zone à défendre), which are due to start in January. They are in the area where Vinci, the company planning to build the airport, want to start work.  There is to be a court hearing on 13th January to request their removal, with a fine of € 200 to € 1,000 / day / person? and the seizure and sequestration of property and farm animals.  People who are passionate that the airport should not be built are not prepared to see these evictions. The government had agreed they would not happen until all legal remedies had been fully exhausted – and they have not. The airport opponents believe it would make better environmental and economic sense to improve the existing Nantes airport, rather than ruin valuable natural habitats and destroy productive farmland. They want a proper independent study done.



Apologies that the translation into English below is less than perfect ….

Nantes tractors

“No” to evictions in Notre-Dame-des-Landes – Day mobilizations in Nantes and elsewhere on Saturday, 9th January 2016

The government betrayed the agreements reached by the struggle, through which neither the work on the airport, nor the airport evictions, would begin before the exhaustion of legal remedies.

Indeed, residents and farmers deemed to be “historic”, who were owners or tenants of land before the declaration of public utility (DUP), were assigned for expulsion in chambers on 10th December. AGO Vinci demanded the immediate expulsion of the inhabitants, with a financial penalty of € 200- €1000 per day, and also the sequestration of property and livestock.

The timing was undoubtedly politically unwelcome: with the COP21 and regional elections. Both counsel agreed to the temporary suspension of the procedure, the AGO Vinci affirming its willingness to restart in January.

After attempts to empty the ZAD by police failed in 2012, the state is now trying to do this under financial pressure, without even having to venture onto the land.

There is no question of allowing the State to expel part of us, or even to impose such a threat on all the inhabitants of the area. Our perspective is the abandonment of the airport project, however, our collective strength must immediately at present be to ensure the state’s commitment to waive any deportation proceedings until all appeals are totally completed.

Please note change of date compared to initial announcements have already been circulated.  It is the 9th January, and not the 16th.

On December 30th, AGO Vinci relaunched the procedure for an oral hearing for Wednesday, January 13th.  A planning meeting that evening decided to bring the mobilization forward to the preceding Saturday. We therefore call for a strong mobilization on January 9th Nantes device, in convoys of tractors, bicycles, walkers converging Cheviré for a grand banquet shared at the foot of the bridge, from groceries bags. All in an enthusiastic atmosphere, friendly and serene, the one we kept during the eight days of our convoy “on the CAP COP” despite the state of emergency. The action of this day around Nantes will be assumable by all and managed together end to end. We stand collectively guarantee its success.


We will never give up the ZAD lands and all those who make it live.

We therefore call people to join us for a mobilization on Saturday 9th January 2016, either:

– at the bike convoy of Notre-Dame-des-Landes at 8:30 am, which will go to the Nantes ring road

–  or if you do not have a bike: at the pedestrian event (the two will join up)

and if you are too far away, there are demonstrations, blockades, occupations and other forms of action near you in solidarity against evictions, (rather) on 9th or on the 16th January, according to local possibilities assessed by the local support committees. .. Rennes, Toulouse and other cities … have already announced actions.



The original French:

Non aux expulsions à Notre-Dame-des-Landes – Journée de mobilisations sur Nantes et ailleurs, le samedi 9/01/2016

Le gouvernement trahit les accords obtenus par la lutte selon lesquels ni les travaux de l’aéroport ni les expulsions ne commenceraient avant l’épuisement des recours juridiques.

En effet, les habitants et paysans dits « historiques », qui étaient propriétaires ou locataires avant la déclaration d’utilité publique (DUP), ont été assignés en référé expulsion le 10 décembre. AGO-Vinci demandait l’expulsion immédiate des habitants, avec pour contrainte une astreinte financière de 200 à 1000€ par jour. Et mise sous séquestre des biens et cheptels.

Le moment était sans doute malvenu sur le plan politique : COP21 et élections régionales. Les deux avocats ont accepté la mise en suspens de la procédure, celui d’AGO-Vinci affirmant sa volonté de la relancer en janvier.

Après que les tentatives de vider la ZAD par les forces policières ont échoué en 2012, l’État essaie maintenant de le faire sous la pression financière sans même avoir à se risquer à venir sur le terrain.

Il n’est pas question de laisser l’État expulser une partie d’entre nous, ni même de laisser peser une telle menace sur l’ensemble des habitants de la zone. Notre perspective est l’abandon du projet, cependant notre force collective doit arracher immédiatement l’engagement de l’État à renoncer à toute procédure d’expulsion jusqu’à ce que tous les recours soient menés à leur fin.

Attention changement de date par rapport aux premières annonces ayant déjà circulé.

Le 30 décembre, AGO-Vinci a relancé la procédure pour une audience contradictoire le mercredi 13 janvier. Une AG le soir même a décidé d’avancer la mobilisation au samedi précédent. Nous appelons donc à une forte mobilisation le 9 janvier sur le périphérique de Nantes, en convois de tracteurs, vélos, marcheurs, convergeant vers Cheviré, pour un grand banquet partagé au pied du pont, victuailles tirées des sacs. Le tout dans une ambiance enthousiaste, conviviale et sereine, celle que nous avons su conserver pendant les huit jours de notre convoi « CAP sur la COP » malgré l’état d’urgence. L’action de cette journée autour de Nantes sera assumable par tous et toutes et gérée ensemble de bout en bout. Nous nous portons collectivement garants de son succès.


Nous ne laisserons jamais disparaître les terres de la zad
et tous ceux qui la font vivre.

Nous appelons donc à nous rejoindre pour une mobilisation le 9 janvier 2016, que ce soit :

– à la tracto-vélo de Notre-Dame-des-Landes à 8h30, qui ira jusqu’au périphérique de Nantes

– si vous n’avez pas de vélo : à la manifestation piétonne (les deux se rejoindront)

et si vous êtes trop loin, à des manifestations, blocages, occupations et autres formes d’actions près de chez vous en solidarité contre les expulsions, (plutôt) le 9 ou le 16 janvier, selon possibilités locales appréciées par les comités de soutien… Rennes, Toulouse, d’autres villes… ont déjà annoncé des actions.

Saturday, January 9th: Support for mobilization against evictions in Notre-Dame-des-Landes

Vélorution (cycle ride) in support of Notre-Dame-des-Landes Saturday, January 9 at 10 am.

10 am: cycling event Bastille Square (in front of the Opera). We go to Montparnasse, and start off from there at 11.30am.

Bring flags and other signs, placards. See some tips for the critical mass here.

Come wearing something red, to form part of the continuity of the “red lines” of D12 (the “red lines” should not be crossed, symbolic of the minimum limits required for a just and livable planet). Note: this color code is also the one chosen by the opponents of the expansion of London airports, with 13 activists who will be appearing in court on 18th January (see Plane Stupid).

At the call of the Paris collective support for the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes Saturday, January 9 at 11 h 30

11 h30: visit to the Montparnasse station.

Have an identity card. Don’t bring any sharp objects.  There will be singing and distribution of leaflets up to 12.30pm.

The State via AGO Vinci launched a procedure against peasants/ smallholders who refused their expropriation from Notre-Dame-des-Landes, to make way for the new airport. A hearing  is taking place on January 13th to request their removal, with a fine of € 200 to € 1,000 / day / person and the seizure and sequestration of property and farm animals, and the non-application of the winter break.

The government betrays agreements where neither the work nor the airport evictions should be allowed to begin before the exhaustion of all legal remedies.

Yes maintaining a vibrant agricultural area – Yes to the conservation of biodiversity and the climate

The area should, in the view of policy makers, make way for an international airport. A large unnecessary project, imposed by force, without economic justification (maintaining Nantes Atlantique would save € 870 million to local communities), and climaticide which poses a considerable environmental threat to the region.

Dates in Paris:

  • Wednesday, January 13 at 9 am: day of the hearing, gathering outside the headquarters of Vinci in Rueil
  • Saturday, January 16th at 13h: Banquet against the state of emergency in Ménilmontant
  • and 15h: departure in protest against evictions of NDDL


COPAIN [Friends]

Déclaration de Copain 44 à la conférence de presse du 5 janvier 2016   [Bits translated into English] 

Tous mobilisés le samedi 09 janvier 2016 à Nantes et partout en France pour l’abandon des procédures d’expulsions sur la ZAD de Notre Dame des Landes.

Nous, paysans de Copain du 44 et de toute la France, notre colère est montée d’un cran début décembre :  le gouvernement osait demander l’expulsion immédiate des opposants historiques vivant sur la ZAD, onze familles et quatre fermes. [… they are angry because the government dared to call for the immediate expulsion of historical opponents living on the ZAD, eleven families and four farms. ]

Il n’y aura pas d’aéroport à Notre Dame des Landes parce que nous nous y opposerons par tous les moyens. [There will not be an airport at Notre Dame des Landes, because we will oppose it by all means].

Pour cette raison, nous ne laisserons pas disparaître les fermes de la ZAD et les familles de paysans que nous défendons et soutenons depuis 1973.

S’ils sont encore là aujourd’hui, c’est bien sûr par leurs convictions, et leurs engagements personnels, mais c’est aussi parce que nous nous sommes tous mobilisés, en particulier au moment de l’opération César.

Si les paysannes et paysans des quatre fermes les plus menacées aujourd’hui ont choisi de rester avec leur familles et leurs troupeaux dans ce contexte éprouvant, c’est aussi parce que 400 paysans en tracteurs sont venus à NDDL, puis 500 à Nantes, et que Copain à tout fait pour les soutenir.   [ If farmers and peasants of the four most endangered farms today have chosen to remain with their families and their livestock in this challenging environment, it is also because 400 farmers with tractors came to NDDL and 500 to Nantes, and Copain did everything they could to support them.] 

Aujourd’hui, leur résistance envers et contre tout, est devenu pour nous le symbole de notre engagement à tous pour une autre façon de concevoir l’aménagement du territoire, la protection des terres agricoles et nourricières et la mise en place d’autres pratiques respectueuses de l’environnement. [Today, their resistance towards and against all, has become for us the symbol of our commitment to all for another way to design regional planning, protection of farmland and for growing food and the implementation of other practices that respect the environment.] 

Nous sommes tous responsables de la situation où ils se trouvent aujourd’hui.
Nous sommes venus les défendre parce que l’Utilité Publique du projet, décrétée en 2008, a été largement mise en doute par de nombreux apports scientifiques. [We are all responsible for the situation where they are today. We came to defend because the public utility of the project, enacted in 2008, was widely doubted by many scientific contributions. ]

Les projets d’utilité publique, nous paysans on connaît. Nombre d’entre nous ont cédé des surfaces agricoles pour sécuriser des routes, construire des collèges ou des hôpitaux. [ We peasants know public utility projects. Many of us have sold farmland to secure roads, build schools or hospitals.]  

Mais là, nous sommes venus plusieurs fois à plus de 500 en tracteur à NDDL ou à Nantes pour demander,avec tous les autres opposants, que la DUP de 2008 soit remise à plat, et que l’optimisation de l’aéroport actuel face l’objet d’une réelle étude objective. [But there, we came several times with more than 500 tractors to  NDDL or Nantes to ask, with all other opponents, that the 2008 DUP is looked at afresh, and that a proper objective study is done on the optimization of the existing airport. ]

Les porteurs du projet savent leur cause perdue sur le fond du dossier, alors on ne parle plus que de zone de non droit à coup de grandes déclarations et de pétitions de riverains.
La meilleure façon de redonner de la sérénité aux riverains est d’abandonner immédiatement ce grand projet inutile. [The backers of the airport project know their lost cause on the bottom of the file, then we no longer talk as lawless zone suddenly sweeping statements and residents’ petitions. The best way to restore tranquility to the residents is to immediately abandon this unnecessary large project].

Le gouvernement sait aujourd’hui qu’il sera impossible de vider la ZAD par la force, alors malgré les engagements du président Hollande, il décide de frapper les occupants historiques, avant même l’aboutissement de tous les recours. Ou est l’urgence alors que AGO redistribue les terres agricoles pour les cultures de la saison à venir. [The government knows now that it will be impossible to empty the ZAD by force, so despite the commitments of President Hollande, he decided to hit the historical occupants even before the completion of all appeals. Or is the urgency while AGO redistribute farmland for crops of the coming season.] 

Pour toute réponse, fin décembre AGO, pour le compte de l’état, réactive la procédure abandonnée le 10th. [ In response, in late December AGO, on behalf of the state, reactive the procedure that was delayed on 10th December.. Anger rises again. ]
La colère monte encore.

…… and it continues



Some earlier news about the planned airport at NDDL:

Open letter by ACIPA to François Hollande asking for forced evictions at NDDL to be stopped

At Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), where a new airport for Nantes is planned, there are due to be forced evictions of those who remain on the land, after a tribunal hearing on 10th December. At the moment 11 families and four farms located in the area of the airport wants to build. The protest group at NDDL have now written to the President of the Republic François Hollande, to ask him to prevent these expulsions. The expulsion order is by AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci) on behalf of the state. ACIPA says that therefore, the responsibility lies with the President. There was a month long hunger strike in May 2012, and to end that, an assurance was given that there would not be evictions. That was updated in 2014. ACIPA say the families believed the assurances by government, and they have therefore not made arrangements to leave. The families and the farmers face all their property and livestock being put into receivership if they will not leave. The government made successive promises that all legal remedies would be pursued to exhaustion, and appeals are still pending. ACIPA asks how the President will keep the trust of potential voters, if he does not keep his word. ACIPA want a meeting with the President, the waiving of expulsion orders, and a proper investigation into options to improve the existing Nantes airport

Click here to view full story…

COP21: 200 bikes and 5 tractors from Notre-Dame-des-Landes (planned airport site) set off for the Paris climate talks

A convoy of 200 bicycles and five tractors has left Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) going to Paris for the COP21 talks, to demand the abandonment of the proposed new Nantes airport. The protesters, most wearing yellow vests proclaiming “No Airport” straddled their bikes in mid morning for a “tracto-vélo” that should arrive in Paris on November 28, two days before the opening of the international climate conference. They will “denounce the blatant hypocrisy between the will of the government to fight against global warming and the destruction of more than 1,600 hectares of farmland and wetlands in order to build a new airport.” During the week the convoy entitled “Cap sur la COP” will make the trip in stages of 40-70 km, and its stop in various towns and cities, to stay with local supporters and hold meetings and discussions with their many local support committees, that oppose the planned new airport. After the terrorist attacks in Paris, the organisers had been unsure about proceeding, but say they will not confront the police in any way, and are just attending in order to put across their message. The convoy plans to meet up with other convoys outside Paris before the COP. Though the convoy is mainly cyclists, there will be some vehicles to transport people who can not make a long journey by bike, and for logistics.

Click here to view full story…

Planned airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes deemed one of Europe’s “Grands Projets Inutiles et Imposés”

NDDL beach artWhile the authorities in Loire Atlantique are hoping to start work on the new Nantes airport, to be built over good farmland and wetland at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, (NDDL)opponents say this is premature. While the French Prime Minister, Manual Valls, is keen for work to get started, the main opposition group to the airport plan – ACIPA – say President François Hollande has recently confirmed that the legal challenges should be allowed to run their course. There are still some procedures to go through. Opponents produced a huge beach art protest – writing in the sand: ” Pour le climat, pas d’aeroport a Notre-Dame-des-Landes.” ACIPA points out that when the airport and its backers say they will be “resuming” work on the site, they never in fact started. ACIPA also points out that the tendering for work contract is also a PR thing, as various administrative permits must first be obtained. The new NDDL airport is being considered as one of a class of Grands Projets Inutiles et Imposés – big unnecessary imposed projects – along with HS2 in the UK, a new high-speed Lyon-Turin line, gold mining using cyanide in Romania, and a high speed rail line in the Basque Country. A people’s tribunal in Turin will look at all these cases to reach a joint decision that will have ethical, moral, political value, in the broadest sense.

Click here to view full story…

Work on the new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes might start by early next year

In 2008 plans to build a new airport for Nantes, 20 miles north of the city at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, were approved. The plan is to move the airport from its current site to the south of the city, Nantes Atlantique Airport, and build over farmland and wetlands, that are rich in wildlife and have good agriculture. The new “Aéroport du Grand Ouest” is intended to be a “gateway to western France” with up to 9 million passengers per year by 2050. For that tiny number, it wants two runways. It has been bitterly opposed for years, and while it was originally to open in 2014, work may now eventually start soon. Opponents have done everything they could to stop it, including huge occupations of parts of the site, scuffles with the authorities that sometimes turned unpleasant, a hunger strike, and recourse to legal challenges on European law. Finally it seems all legal avenues have been exhausted. The Prefecture of the Loire-Atlantic announced in effect that work on the airport will start, and a call for tenders has been launched. Compensation will have to be paid to those having their land expropriated, and environmental mitigation will have to be done – including protection of water voles. There are still people (zadistes) occupying shacks on part of the site, and they would have to be removed. Opponents do not believe any work can start yet. They say the airport is not needed, it is not consistent with climate targets, and the damage to farmland and habitats cannot be justified. .

Click here to view full story…

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