Sivens Forest: Riot Police Eject Latest eco-Protest From Planned Dam Site Near Toulouse

A 21-year-old eco-protester died after violent weekend clashes involving demonstrators and police at a contested dam project site near Albi, in the southwest, Agence France Presse reported. His death was said to have occurred in ‘unclear circumstances’.

Sheep join Sivens Forest eco-protest (Screen capture RT)

Sheep join Sivens Forest eco-protest (Screen capture RT)

In a later update it was reported that the family of the dead man, Remi Fraisse, planned to lay a complaint of voluntary homicide against the gendarmerie involved in the affair.

His death provoked outrage on social media such as Twitter where the hashtags #RemiFraisse, #Testet, #sivens were soon filled with photographs of demonstrations in cities like Nantes, Brest, Toulouse and Marseilles among others. Angry crowds lit candles, let off smoke bombs, burnt rubbish bins and in central Nantes, smashed the glass fronts of banking institutions.

The pictures below are from Twitter:

VICE News an independent TV news company covered some of the protest at the site earlier and published this report to YouTube:

“Deep in the tranquil Forest of Sivens in the south of France, eco-militant activists and French riot police are fighting a violent battle in woodlands being cut down to make way for a dam, which will spell the end for a protected wetland and ancient forestland.. The local authorities say that the dam is to irrigate cornfields in the area”, Vice TV reported.

But activists — and many locals — are opposed to what is a private initiative .  An AFP report said some 2,000 people gathered at the weekend to protest the dam which is in the Tarn region, and which they claim will benefit just a handful of large agri-business concerns.

Lieutenant Colonel Sylvain Renier of the Tarn gendarmerie nationale said between 100 and 150 “anarchists” wearing hoods threw incendiary devices at security forces at around 2:00 am on Sunday. The security forces used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets against the demonstrators, Renier added. Protests and clashes have intensified since clearing work started early in September.

The Moscow state TV network RT Russia Today also filmed the protest (click here to be taken to the website) which started off as a boisterous walkabout that included herds of sheep. The protest is just the latest in a long history of grass roots opposition to developments that eco-protesters consider detrimental to national interests.

These include successful nationwide demos against fracking, the blocking for ten years of the proposed new airport near Nantes, and occupation of an intensive dairy farm — the 1000-cow project — in northern France.

More on French protests


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