A squadron of mobile gendarmerie intervened, Friday February 9 at the beginning of the afternoon, in the Tarn near a camp of opponents of the future A69 project.
Opponents of the Toulouse-Castres motorway project were busy preparing two days of mobilization planned for Saturday and Sunday, installing dry toilets and signage on private land, when a squadron of gendarmes deployed near the ZAD (area to be defended) of Crém’arbre, in the town of Saïx, just outside Castres.
According to the organizers, the police wanted to disrupt the advance of “La Cabanade”, the name of this mobilization which plans workshops, round tables and even concerts all weekend. Journalists from Agence France-Presse (AFP), having been able to approach within twenty meters despite the gendarmerie, witnessed two arrests as well as tear gas shots.
Around 5 p.m., the city’s gendarmes and road services had cleared most of the pallets and other tanks blocking the small road which borders the plot where the opponents are installed, close to the route of the motorway which should link Toulouse and Castres.
“The police operation led by 102 gendarmes made it possible to dismantle the booby-trapped barricades installed, seize the various materials intended for the construction of cabins and restore order”, explained the prefecture in a press release late in the afternoon. Asked by AFP whether the gendarmes had accessed the wooded area located on this private plot, the prefecture responded in the negative. Shortly before the intervention of the police, the prefect of Tarn, Michel Vilbois, announced that he had “issued an order prohibiting demonstrations and gatherings” because of “Risks of major disturbances to public order”.
The activists already on site, around a hundred according to a spokesperson, “resists”, according to messages posted on the Telegram network. An opponent declared to AFP an intervention ” brutal “ And “in several waves, with use of LBD (ball thrower) and stun grenades ». On the Telegram loops dedicated to the event, activists continued to call for mobilization this weekend.
A joint police source by the AFP that the esteem of “one hundred to two hundred people” could participate in the weekend mobilization, while the organizers are expecting between five hundred and a thousand people for this gathering which is to be held in a field lent to the demonstrators by a farmer, near a hay shed and a . stable with a few cows.
The environmentalist deputy for Haute-Garonne Christine Arrighi, who had announced her intention to go to the “Cabanade”, declared to AFP that she was maintaining her room planned for Sunday, despite the intervention of the gendarmes. Green MEP Caroline Roose could be present, as well as “media personalities” announced by the collective, without further details. Global warming activist Greta Thunberg will also attend, says The Dispatch.
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The A69 motorway project, which aims to open up a rural area according to its defenders, divides the political class and is strongly contested by environmental activists, who have mobilized several times in recent months along the route.