Thousands protest new highway in France, cite environment concerns
Organizers say the demonstration in the Tarn region against the proposed A69 motorway saw 8,200 protesters.
Thousands of protesters marched on Saturday in southern France to denounce plans to build a new highway they say will pollute and threaten biodiversity.
Organizers said the demonstration in the Tarn region against the proposed A69 motorway saw 8,200 protesters; 4,500 according to the local authority.
They marched under intermittent rain along the route of the proposed highway, which would link the southern cities of Toulouse and Castres, carrying placards that read "Less energy, fewer cars and less tarmac" and other green messages.
Videos circulated on social media showed the protesters building a brick wall to oppose the building of the new highway.
Seriously we need to take some pointers from French protesting.— The Bern Identity (@bern_identity) April 22, 2023
Protestors built a brick wall on a national roadway opposing the building of a new highway. Activists say it will destroy 2,500 trees and surrounding habitats.#A69 Toulouse-Castres.pic.twitter.com/bEEbNdp08D
Julien Bayou, a lawmaker from the Europe Ecology Greens party (EELV), said the planned highway was "anachronistic".
Sandrine Rousseau, another Greens MP, pointed out that the project dated back to the 1990s when the thinking was that one could only travel by car and on highways.
"There is really no need of another motorway," Rousseau said.
Others warned that the 53-kilometer (30-mile) highway would lead to a loss of farmland and endanger biodiversity.
Last month, protests against planned water storage facilities in another southern region led to violent clashes between demonstrators and police in which three people were seriously wounded.
Campaigners in Sainte-Soline were trying to stop the construction of giant water "basins" to irrigate crops, which they say will distort access to water amid drought conditions.
The water reserve is the second of 16 such installations, part of a project developed by a group of 400 farmers to significantly reduce mains water usage in summer.