the police launch the evacuation of a “ZAD” erected during the night, the Minister of Transport condemns “inexcusable violence”

The police began, on Sunday October 22 at midday, the evacuation of a small “zone to defend” (ZAD) erected at a place called La Crémade to the east of Castres, during a weekend of mobilization by opponents of the A69 motorway project between Toulouse and Castres. The occupants feared the evacuation of the premises, the prefecture having indicated that all the demonstrators should have left the site by Sunday evening.

Barricades had grown up during the night near the base camp of opponents of the project, around the “ZAD” installed near an old farmhouse, on the edge of a field lent by a farmer. The site is named “Crem-ZAD” in reference to the name of the place. Before the evacuation, Anna (who requires anonymity like all the demonstrators interviewed), a young Extinction Rebellion activist, hoped that the outcome would be the same as for the ZAD against Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport. in Loire-Atlantique: abandonment of the project. But neither the concessionaire, nor the government, nor the Occitanie region, in favor of the future motorway, are suggesting that the A69, which must be completed at the end of 2025, could meet the same fate.

The day before, more than 10,000 demonstrators, according to the organizers, marched near the village of Saix (Tarn). The prefecture, for its part, puts forward the figure of “2,400 people in the procession”while specifying that “2,500 violent individuals broke away from the procession declared to commit abuses”. The route had been the subject of long negotiations, but, instead of one, six separate processions set off in all directions, departing from the opponents’ base camp, most of them taking routes not declared.

Read also: Where are the various motorway projects in France?

By adopting this strategy, the organizers – The Way is Free, the Uprisings of the Earth, the Peasant Confederation, Extinction Rebellion Toulouse, Attac, the National Tree Protection Group and Solidaires 81… – have in fact limited the possibilities of intervention law enforcement.

A cement factory vandalized

Opposite, the security system was important, with 1,600 police and gendarmes mobilized, as well as 300 firefighters. But if the pressure had been put on on Saturday morning, with very strict controls of vehicles and people around the base camp, the system was less visible on Saturday afternoon, the squadrons mostly stationed away from the route, ” so that [leur] presence is not perceived as a provocation”indicated a police source.

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