French Protesters Say “Non” to Grand Ouest Airport

(Photo: Reuters / Stephane Mahe)
(Photo: Reuters / Stephane Mahe)
(Photo: Reuters / Stephane Mahe)

Residents in western France are resisting the construction of a planned airport by occupying its intended site at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.  Around 200 people, farmers and inhabitants who refuse to leave, occupy houses or expropriated land in the zoned ZAD (Deferred Development Zone) in Notre-Dame-des-Landes that is slated for the Grand Ouest Airport (AGO).

The residents of the ZAD’s 3,954 acres (1,600ha) have formed some 50 living groups comprised of self-built homes, villages, farms and buildings that were saved from destruction, which have been renovated and are currently occupied by people who are resisting expulsion.

Residents work in agricultural and horticultural projects, and also have collective spaces for baking bread, a pharmacy, sewing and bicycle repair.  A demonstration to protest the construction of the new airport in this zone, some 19 miles (30km) from Nantes and scheduled for 2017, will be held in Nantes on February 22, 2014.

In the picture, French farmer Sylvain Fresneau makes a phone call as he stands in front of his farm at La Vacherie near the proposed airport site.

(Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)