Fresh rally against French airport plans near Nantes


Protesters want Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport plan to be withdrawn and expulsion orders given to local families and farmers to be scrapped.

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Thousands of demonstrators, some arriving by bicycle, some driving tractors, rallied Saturday to protest at a controversial airport development near the western French city of Nantes, reports Yahoo! News.

In the latest round in a long-running dispute, organisers put turnout at 50,000, although police put the number at 15,000, albeit twice their estimate for a similar protest last month.

Sporadic violence marred a similar protest two years ago.

Protesters are demanding the airport plan be withdrawn and also the cancellation of expulsion orders handed to 11 families and four farmers living at the site.

They saw their appeals rejected last month.

The recent protests come amid a 15-year legal battle to block construction of a major new airport on marshland outside Nantes -- a project first mooted as far back as the 1960s.

Saturday's protest was the first since French President Francois Hollande said he would put the issue to a referendum.

Read more of this AFP report published by Yahoo! News.

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