French press review 15 August 2016

Several French dailies report on yesterday's protest at a planned radioactive waste disposal centre in the Lorraine region of north-eastern France with hundreds turning out to sabotage and graffiti the site's enclosing wall.   

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Hundreds of protesters armed with sticks, hoes, crowbars, picks and other objects gathered at the edge of the forest in Bure and destroyed part of the site's two-metre concrete enclosure, reports Le Monde.

France's national radioactive waste management agency, Andra, is currently carrying out exploratory work on the site.

If it wins government approval, from 2025 the tunnels under the yellow fields of rapeseed will be the last resting place for the most destructive and indestructible waste in history.

Demonstrators gathered in the woods on the border of Meuse and Haute-Marne departments, writes Le Monde, to protest against the plans for the "geological storage facility" - a euphemism for a radioactive waste dump - to bury the most noxious substances.

High- and medium-level radioactive waste, the residue of more than half a century of nuclear power generation, will end up in the 25-billion-euro complex.

The protest was "more radical than pastoral", the paper reports, with activists in the region including farmers, villagers and many young activists "hooded and masked" - rejoicing at the damage to the site as "an act of collective and joyous sabotage".

As the concrete blocks came down, other protesters tagged the wall with bright yellow slogans reading "we don't want garbage," "neither here nor elsewhere," and "revive the communal forest" - or replanted shrubs on deforested land.

Organisers say there were 450 protestors, writes Le Parisien, while officials put it at about 300.

Turkey's ire over EU snub

Le Monde also reports that the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister has accused Europeans of "humiliating his country" instead of helping Turkey.

In the wake of last months failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mevlüt Cavusoglu tells the German tabloid Bild that he believes Turkey has worked "like few other countries in fulfilling the EU accession conditions", harvesting in return only "threats, insults and a total blockage".

Cavusoglu goes as far as accusing the 28-member bloc of "promoting or encouraging" the authors of the failed 15 July coup.

"I wonder: what crime have we committed? Why the hostility?" the minister asks.

He also demands that an agreement for visa-free travel for Turkish citizens agreed by the European Commission in March be respected.

The visas for travel in Europe’s borderless Schengen zone, was one of the terms of a controversial deal over refugees arriving on the Greek islands.

Freedom from terror - but Manbij citizens worn out

Left-wing Libération too reports how protesters came and stood up to fight against the "poubelle" (waste bin) of Bure and the nuclear waste plans.

In another report it claims "the population of Manbij are exhausted after the eviction of the Islamic State".

The Syrian stronghold of the jihadist organisation, the Islamic State armed group, was freed on Friday after 70 days of fighting, writes the paper.

The battle killed between 500 and 700 people and kept 100,000 residents trapped in Manbij, 80 kilometres northeast of Aleppo, before it was liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces strongly backed by international coalition air forces.

The paper talks to some of the survivors of the battle, including some of the 500 civilians taken as "human shields" by the jihadists as they retreated towards Jarabulus in the north.

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