Once again direct action and solidarity wins the day. The ZAD occupation has been running for years. The project to build a massive new airport in 5,000 hectres of wetlands and small hamlets was first raised in the 1970's, the protests grew larger and took on a more direct action approach during the 2000's, and the area has been occupied since. The protesters have determinedly held their ground and increased their presence, despite heavy and at times brutal, military and police opposition. It has now been announced that the massive destructive project has been cancelled.
However the struggle goes on, with the locals and protesters laying out their demands of what is to happen to this extensive piece of land that the state grab for the airport.
This report from Freedom News UK:
In a communique the famous horizontal community Zone à Defendre (ZAD) has declared a “historic victory” and called for “expropriated peasants and inhabitants to be able to fully recover their rights as soon as possible.”A new e-book on the struggle,
The entirety of the land area devoted to the airport project — 1,650 hectares of land declared as being of public utility in 2008 — currently belongs to the State, with the exception of three roads crossing it. the ZAD has argued that this land should be kept in public hands and, rather than turned into an airport, put into forms of public lease for the benefit of the community and wildlife.
Responding to reports that the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project is now officially dead, reps for the ten-year environmental occupation campaign wrote:
This afternoon, the government has just announced the abandonment of the project.
We note that the declaration of public utility [key to enabling large projects to function and compulsory purchases to happen] will not officially be extended. The project will definitely be null and void on February 8th.
This is a historic victory against a destructive development project. This has been possible thanks to a long movement as determined as it is varied.
First of all, we would like to warmly welcome all those who have mobilised against this airport project over the past 50 years.
Regarding the future of the ZAD, the whole movement reaffirms today:
The need for expropriated peasants and inhabitants to be able to fully recover their rights as soon as possible.
The refusal of any expulsion of those who have come to live in recent years in the grove to defend it and who wish to continue to live there and take care of it.
A long-term commitment to take care of the ZAD lands by the movement in all its diversity — peasants, naturalists, local residents, associations, old and new inhabitants.
To implement it, we will need a period of freezing the institutional redistribution of land. In the future, this territory must be able to remain an area of social, environmental and agricultural experimentation.
With regard to the issue of the reopening of the D281 road, closed by the public authorities in 2013, the movement undertakes to answer this question itself. Police presence or intervention would only make the situation worse.
We also wish, on this memorable day, to send a strong message of solidarity to other struggles against major destructive projects and for the defense of threatened territories.
We call to converge widely on February 10th in the grove to celebrate the abandonment of the airport and to continue building the future of the ZAD.
Acipa, Coordination of Opponents, COPAIn 44, Naturalists in struggle, the inhabitants of the ZAD.
Defending The ZAD, can be read HERE: