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Don't Stop Til You've ZAD Enough


The ZAD (Zone a Defendre), near Nantes in France has been under attack from the military Gendarme and riot pigs the CRS since Tuesday (16th). The French state has pulled out all the stops to evict the 12km autonomous site- using tear gas and helicopters to storm squatted buildings. Occupiers have fought back with tree top and roof occupations, burning barricades, stone chucking, spontaneous protests, direct action, and even samba.

Throughout Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (as SchNEWS goes to print) convoys of cop vans have spewed gas-happy footsoldiers over the countryside left, right and centre. The run of events has been documented from the front line here. The cops are employing dirty tactics, setting one wooden hut alight before checking if anyone was inside.

The Gendarme are said to be prepared for a several-day long operation to secure the site – earmarked for a new mega-development airport - and prevent reoccupation of buildings, some of which they're hoping to bulldozer as soon as they drag out the last scallywags. Determined resistance from inhabitants is making the process much harder than that.

After three days of battling the cops, only seven houses and one plot had been evicted (for anyone who hasn't been to the ZAD – it's big). The evictions had been known of and prepared for: while it was suspected that the houses already evictable under legal processes where to be evicted in this wave (and there was a mass deployment of extra military personnel in several places around Nantes under the pretext of terrorism, but blatantly Zad-related), it was thought the tree houses weren't under threat until the 27th October. In the chaos now nothing is certain. ZADders have confirmed in a statement that around 20 squatted buildings remain occupied along with all the sites owned, rented and farmed.

The sprawling zone consists of old farm buildings which have been squatted, usually functioning as a centre point for surrounding tree house communities, as well as legit farmers homes and land from those old time residents who've refused to give up their homes for the meglomaniac project. The plans include not just an airport, but a whole industrial development, port and road system to the west of Nantes.

The police invasion has prompted solidarity actions around France and the rest of Europe. Demonstrations have taken place outside France's Ministry for the Environment in Paris, and in other towns of Vannes, Lyon and of course throughout Nantes itself. Inventively, the Vinci (the private company set to make a killing from the development) headquarters in Brussels have had their letterboxes stuffed with manure.

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Twitter: @SchNEWS