En garde

News in Brief

In late February, hundreds of French police in riot gear, equipped with bulldozers, helicopters and drones, evicted dozens of occupiers from a proposed burial site for France’s civil and military nuclear waste. The protest camp in the Bois Lejuc, north-eastern France, had been set up 18 months ago on the spot planned for ventilation shafts.

Police also surrounded and forced their way into ‘the House of Resistance’ in nearby Bure, where local opposition to the planned waste dump has been based for more than 20 years. They removed all the occupants, arresting some and searching the premises.

The raid followed a humiliating defeat for the French government over the proposed airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes in western France, near the city of Nantes (which already has an airport).

On 17 January, French prime minister Edouard Philippe said it was impossible to continue with the plans for the airport given the ‘climate of bitter opposition between two sides of the population that are nearly equal in size.’

The climbdown came 10 years after plans were first announced. However, Philippe also promised to evict the community occupying the site, known as ‘la ZAD’ (despite a massive failure in 2012)