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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Notre-Dame-des-Landes: le dialogue de sourd

by S.G.


Talks for the hard-of-hearing

Translated Monday 26 November 2012, by Kristina Wischenkamper and reviewed by Bill Scoble

With opponents of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport on one side wanting to talk only of stopping the project, and the government, on the other, wanting to talk only about its environmental impact, the "Dialogue Commission" set up by Jean-Marc Ayrault, will have its work cut out for it, to find a common starting point for any dialogue at all.

"We are ready to talk”, says Cyril Bouliguand, member of the Confédération Paysanne, “but only about how to stop this project, not about how to lessen its environmental impact, as the government suggests". The press conference was given at the "New cabins"— symbols of the anti-airport protest, that were built collectively on 17 November as part of a massive demonstration and that are now being defended by a circle of tractors. It is here that Cyril Bouliguand adds that the protestors also want the "the withdrawal of police forces".

The project " will go ahead"

At the Party’s weekly press briefing on Monday, Frédérique Espagnac, one of the two Socialist Party spokespeople, insisted that the project "will go ahead", "in any case". Claude Bartolone, socialist president of the National Assembly, also on Monday, told LCI that the "dialogue commission" would help put "all issues on the table". But he added that at one point, "we must find a solution that takes into account the economic development of the three major Western regions of France and the democratic process they undertook to get there."
On Sunday, the Government stated that negotiations would focus only on the environmental aspects of the project. "There’s no turning back on the airport project" was the message hammered out on Radio J by government spokeswoman Najat Belkacem-Vallaud.

There were no further clashes on Monday. Although no security operation had been scheduled for Monday, dozens of police trucks were still present. They were initially there to evacuate the rubble from Rose Farm, the first squat in the historic anti-airport battle, that was razed to the ground on Friday by court order. All illegal constructions whose destruction needed no authorization were bulldozed between Friday and Saturday night. However, the Prefect must be in possession of a court order to destroy the new cabins. A request to this effect was being made on Monday. The police did, however, begin on Monday to destroy barricades that had been erected by protestors nearly three weeks ago. The removal of these barricades is regarded as a "prerequisite" so that the protestors can be received at the Prefecture, according to a source there.

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