Demonstration at Notre-Dame-de-Landes in honor of the 10th anniversary of Operation Cesar – Sciences et Avenir

Several hundred people walked Saturday along the paths and forests of the posterior Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire Atlantic) to celebrate 10 years since the failure of Operation César, which marked a turning point in the fight against the failed airport project.

“A month and a half of daily clashes in a territory where local peasants come to use their working tool, where people meet at the barricades, inevitably produces somewhat unexpected effects,” Jean, 37, said in October and November 2012.

On November 17, 2012, a large demonstration drew between 13,500 and 40,000 people in support of opponents of the airport project near Nantes, crushing Operation Cesar.

Since October 2012, more than a thousand police and gendarmes have been mobilized to expel anti-airport activists who have settled in squat farms.

Demonstration on the paths and in the forests of the BACK Notre-Dame-de-Landes (Loire Atlantic), November 19, 2022, on the 10th anniversary of the failure of Operation César, a turning point in the fight against the aborted airport project (AFP – Sebastien SALOM- GOMIS)

“The meetings that have been born since that moment have allowed many people to say to themselves: + here, we have something, and in particular the opportunity to mobilize many more people than what we have done so far. See you now. This fight is getting iconic so we can go for the win+,” added Jean, who has been living there since 2012.

Saturday’s parade, led by a brass band, lasted all day and provided opportunities to stop at several locations that were the scene of clashes in 2012.

In a clearing, demonstrators symbolically poured mud on a gendarme’s helmet stretched between two trees, then recreated a human chain in a chestnut grove, as they did in 2012 to deliver provisions and building materials at this place.

“I think that if there hadn’t been this association of residents (of the neighborhood – ed.) with assholes, well, the assholes would have been crushed, and precisely because they blocked everything, it worked,” Genevieve, 75 years old, calculated.

“There were people who brought food, who brought clothes, shoes, etc. There was solidarity that the prefect did not expect at all,” this pensioner added, explaining that she, for her part, helped in the kitchen.

The airport project at Notre-Dame-de-Landes began in the 1970s and was abandoned on January 17, 2018.

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