French police teargas airport site squatters ahead of new demo


French police fired teargas as they tried to clear squatters from the site of a proposed airport near the western city of Nantes. Protesters threw bottles, stones and firecrackers at about 500 police on the day before a planned turnout of thousands to protest at the project.


Two excavators and a large waste receptacle were deployed to clear an area where the squatters have been camping in shacks as part of their efforts to sabotage the construction of the airport on 1,650 hectares of protected swampland.

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The airport is scheduled to take over from the current Nantes airport in 2017 and is a pet project of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was the city’s mayor from 1989 until this year.

Officials say that the operation was clearing land that has been operated illegally.

Thousands of people are expected Saturday for a second weekend of mobilisation against the plan.

The Green party, EELV, supports the protests and the question is one of several putting their presence in the ruling coalition under strain.

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