A69 motorway: CRS hit by a molotov cocktail, gendarmes and demonstrators injured… summary of a day of agitated mobilization

The mobilization of environmental activists against the A-69 Castres-Toulouse highway, Saturday June 8 in Tarn, degenerated into clashes between hooded demonstrators and the police.

A CRS hit by a Molotov cocktail, as well as two gendarmes were injured, as well as two demonstrators, according to the prefecture. The first incidents broke out around 3 p.m. The prefect of Tarn denounced the "extremely violent attacks, with catapults" of "1& nbsp;200 radical individuals, clearly here to break, unrelated to the question of A69". These demonstrators were trying to reach a building of the highway concessionaire and a site of Pierre Fabre Laboratories, a company which supports the construction of the A-69.

The police used tear gas grenades to disperse them and contain the demonstrators, divided into three groups, at a distance from a road leading to the highway construction site.

For their part, demonstrators dressed in black and hooded fired mortars, fireworks in the direction of the gendarmes, stones and Molotov cocktails.

After various clashes a few dozen meters from the controversial highway construction site, the police pushed the demonstrators back towards an overhanging hill, a few kilometers from the protest camp set up on private land for the weekend.

Calm down

At the end of the day on Saturday, the clashes had stopped, indicated the prefect of Tarn, specifying that the police remained mobilized until the end of the mobilization on Sunday.

"Once again, the associations which called for the demonstration serve as security for violent people who have come to break things down. This fully supports the ban order and the significant deployment of internal security forces, estimated the Tarn prefecture in a press release.

Thousands of environmental opponents defied this prefectural ban to participate in the "Roue Libre" mobilization, initially calmly, upon call of several local collectives and the Earth Uprisings.

Near the village of Puylaurens, the environmental rally brought together 7,000 activists according to the organizers, 1,600 according to the prefecture. Around 1 600 gendarmes and police officers had been mobilized around Puylaurens.

After round tables in the morning, the processions of the "Manif’Action", the highlight of the weekend, set off on paths or country roads, under a blazing sun.

While the main group was walking in a festive atmosphere, another procession left the protest camp set up the day before, with in its ranks people wearing hoods and dressed in black, noted a journalist from the l&rsquo ;AFP.

"Food sovereignty"

"The ban on the demonstration was fully justified", noted the prefect. The Minister of the Interior had ordered the demonstration to be banned, for fear of excesses.

"A ban has been imposed, but clearly, today, citizens prefer to disobey because the world that we are being offered tomorrow is absolutely not suitable" , said before the clashes Thomas Brail, of the National Tree Surveillance Group, mobilized in particular against the felling of plane trees.

"We are addressing the elected officials who went straight into the wall with this completely disastrous project. They have children, they need to think about the world they want to leave them", he added.

At the end of the morning, during a press conference held in a marquee, a spokesperson for the Earth Uprisings denounced "a massacre land for profit.

On behalf of 12 collectives opposed to tar manufacturing units, an activist alerts: "We are on the verge of cracking: the bitumen factories which will produce the coating from the highway, that's 700 tonnes of release of carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic substances for human health.

During a round table, the environmentalist MP Christine Arrighi gave her support "to those who are ultimately the big losers of this A69&nbsp ;: farmers who see their land monopolized at a time of the agricultural crisis and the debate on food sovereignty.

Built in the name of opening up the Castres and Mazamet basin, supported by a majority of local and regional elected officials, the A69 (53 km) is criticized by movements of left and ecologists, scientists who denounce the destruction of wetlands, agricultural land, trees, ecosystems and groundwater, for a gain of time, according to them, paltry.

The work began in 2023 and the highway must be put into service at the end of 2025. "We have a duty to intervene, believes an Extinction Rebellion activist. As long as we are here, the highway will not pass. No Macadam".

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