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The struggle between campaigners and developers in ZAD (le Zone d’Aménagement Differé) protest site near Nantes, France, is heating up this month.

The site sprung up last August after the first French Camp Action Climate, but there has been a 40 year campaign to prevent an airport being built in the countryside area. The plans for the space now, are for a so-called “high quality environmental project” will also include a high speed TGV railway, four-lane highway and a tram train.

The 1860 hectare site houses a total of 17 squats including fields, houses, forests, a farm and a guesthouse. The group is in the process of occupying a further two forest areas. The occupiers have been busy, organising two libraries, two free shops, a bike workshop, a welding workshop, a herb pharmacy and many collective gardens.

But in the last month surveyors have been clearing areas of land for the highway and drilling for water samples. Aided, of course, by heavy police protection, in this case 150 military police.

The sabotage of a machine “in defiance of the private security guards” who patrol the site to protect the interests of the developers has lead to an escalation of police presence and of direct action from the camp.

To stop the work going ahead, groups have engaged in tree-sits, blockades and the first public demo outside a public meeting in the town hall of nearby Notre Dame des Landes. On one occasion, local organisationd surrounded the police and made them retreat in a solidarity action.

The police, however, have also upped the ante. The morning after the town hall demonstration, the protesters awoke to find four police riot vans and several buses of military and local police. The police pepper sprayed activists as they “chanted and milled about” with older people and children present.

Campers at ZAD are eager for more support and this critical time, and welcome visitors to stay at the camp. Info and directions available from


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