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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Affrontements musclés à Notre-Dame-des-Landes

by Marie-Noëlle Bertrand

Violent clashes at Notre Dame des Landes

Translated Monday 12 November 2012, by Kristina Wischenkamper and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Police and protestors clashed violently again yesterday morning at the site of the planned new Nantes airport

Once again at Notre-Dame-des-Landes there have been violent clashes between the police and those opposing the airport project. "The evacuations (on land earmarked for construction in the Nantes project - Ed) continue in the face of very determined opposition, and the number of protestors has increased significantly this weekend," the Loire-Atlantique prefecture said in a press release, continuing that "the security forces have faced violent attacks by projectiles and have been forced to keep at bay groups of attackers by using tear gas."

The violence was also denounced by the protestors; they, however, put the blame squarely with the police and their practices. According to Friends of the Earth "the evictions — which are not at all violence-free — continue; buildings are bricked up, so-called precarious houses have been destroyed, people have been prevented from accessing the site". A "show of force" carried out "with the silence of the media," is how it was described by the organization which on Friday, with a dozen others, wrote an open letter to Jean-Marc Ayrault [Prime Minister]. The airport project, however, seems to gain pace unruffled. Despite the opposition on Friday, public inquiries that are required under the Water Act returned a "favorable" opinion — subject, that is, to the establishment of a commission "of independent experts" who will put forward proposals to compensate for the destruction of wetlands. Orders authorizing the start of works are expected to be signed before Christmas.

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