Notre-Dame-des-Landes evictions leave collective experiment in ruins

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A massive police operation to evict environmental activists occupying farmland in north-west France which was until recently earmarked for the construction of an airport began in the early hours of Monday, marked by violent clashes which left several people injured, and is set to continue through the week. The heavy-handed expulsion of occupants of a number of experimental alternative farming projects on the land at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, during which police used stun grenades and tear gas, was accompanied by the destruction of numerous homes and agricultural installations, including an emblematic collective farm on the site which had hoped to gain official approval for its long-term future.  Christophe Gueugneau and Jade Lindgaard report from Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

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For almost a decade, an area of 1,650 hectares of utilized farmland, dotted with small woods and ponds at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, situated about 25 kilometres from the town of Nantes in north-west France has been occupied by opponents of a plan to build there a vast new ‘Great West’ airport, an almost 600-million-euro project which was finally abandoned in January this year.