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Police and activists clash at protest camp in western France

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By Lucas Radicella  with AFP
Armoured cars were sent to remove barricades blocking access to the camp
Armoured cars were sent to remove barricades blocking access to the camp   -   Copyright  Pictures courtesy of Gendarmerie Nationale

Tensions ran high on Sunday night as clashes erupted between activists and French military police sent to evacuate a protest camp in the western region of Loire Atlantique.

The camp, located near the town of Notre Dame des Landes, near the city of Nantes, was established a decade ago in opposition to a government project to build an airport at the site.

Protesters mounted barricades to block the advance of the approximately 2,500 military police sent to dislodge them in the middle of the night. Armoured military cars were deployed to remove the burning tires and vehicles blocking the access to the camp, while protesters were met with teargas.

The airport construction project was officially dropped in January 2018 the ecclectic group of protesters made up of evironmental and anticapitalist activists has refused to evacuate the site they have been living at for 10 years.

In a recent statement they declared they would offer "physical and determined resistance" to any evacuation attempts.

The operation is still ongoing as local authorities have said that "10 squats" had been evacuated and their occupants offered alterantive accomodation. According to the  police the objective of the first phase of the operation is to dismantle "40 of the 97 squats" at the site.