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French police fire teargas to expel anti-airport squatters

French police fire teargas to expel anti-airport squatters

Some 2,500 police officers conducted a raid at the site at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, near Nantes, where the activists have been camping for years to prevent the construction of an airport, the plan for which had been dropped by President Emmanuel Macron in January, reports Efe news.

A French police officer was reportedly injured Monday as 2,500 cops swarmed a protest camp occupied by eco-activists and anarchists, who pelted police with stones, gasoline bombs and flares.

Following nearly a decade of debates, in January French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that France would abandon the airport project.

A protester walks past burning debris as French gendarmes continue an evacuation operation.

But about 100 stayed in place, seeking to turn it into a "space of social, environmental and agricultural experimentation".

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On January, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the government's decision to drop a controversial project to build an global airport at NDDL, ending five decades of protests.

The eviction in the wooded area began early Monday, with police demolishing tents and blocking roads.

"We will put a stop to the no-go zone which has flourished in this area for almost 10 years", he said. - Reuters pic "Illegal constructions must be brought down for things to come back to normal in Notre-Dame-des-Landes", Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told Europe 1 radio.

The NDDL project, financed by the state and private investors, would have aimed to build a second airport in Nantes by taking over hundreds of hectares of farmland in order to boost economic prospects in the region.

The site had been earmarked for a new airport almost 50 years ago before the government finally dropped plans to build the controversial hub in January.