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Police evict environmentalists from Nantes airport site

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Police evict environmentalists from Nantes airport site


French police have clashed with environmental protesters who had set up an encampment on land earmarked for a new airport in Nantes.

Around 500 officers took part in an operation to dismantle the campsite, forcibly removing those that had been squatting there.

As the bulldozers moved in on the site at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, teargas was also used on the protesters, who themselves fought back – hurling bottles, stones and firecrackers.

Saturday was the second consecutive day of fighting between police and protesters at the site.

The fierce opposition will be a headache for socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was mayor of Nantes until earlier this year and had championed the project.

Due to replace the old Nantes-Atlantique airport
on the outskirts of the city in western France, the project has been opposed by the Greens and various politicians on environmental grounds.

The new airport is due to be completed in 2014.

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