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The vache (that's the French cops to you and me) scored a hilarious own goal last week at la ZAD protest site near Nantes: They tear-gassed themselves.

Around 100-150 cops had turned up to police a protest on Tuesday (14th) of around 40 ZAD occupiers and some local farmers whose fields were being valued. As the state and corporation Vinci press ahead with the long-awaited, and much-opposed, plan for a new international airport to be built on over 6km2 of the southern France countryside, the valuing of land for compensation agreements is one of the last remaining steps before imminent destruction.

Deciding the presence of the site riff raff (who may or may not have been planning on blocking the land valuers access to the fields...) justified riot control policing, one butterfingered cop pulled out a tear gas canister which, seconds later, inexplicably exploded behind the police line. Activists proceeded to piss themselves laughing at the sight of floundering, crying robocops while the bosses behind hogged the eye-drops. Their faces were even redder later as they struggled through muddy fields as nimble protesters gave them the run around.

The episode was the latest in the saga of the Notre-Dame des Landes airport. The airport is just one part of the meglomaniac 'Grand Ouest' project incorporating a new road system and the expansion of the Saint Nazaire port (“What's climate change?”). Most land-owners have already sold their land to the government but a handful still resist, either wholeheartedly rejecting the devastating plans or just holding out for more dolla: the current offers stand at a meagre 16cents per square meter, while Vinci stands to siphon millions in public money to concrete the lot.

Some of the land expropriated by the state, meanwhile, has been re-appropriated by squatters occupying empty farm buildings and treehouses. Although a couple of squats, including the hub Les Planchettes, have been on eviction alert for several weeks ZAD inhabitants are busy with a timetable of workshops, building, riding the airwaves with the ZAD's Radio Klaxton and planning for the upcoming True Substances week of demonstration, skill shares and action (5th - 10th March).


See zad.nadir.org, or get yer ass down to France for March 5th.

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