• October 23, 2023
  • Staff
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Activists say the construction will have disastrous effects on the surrounding environment and biodiversity.


Protests have erupted again over the building of a new motorway in southern France.

The proposed A69 route will connect the towns of Castres and Toulouse.

Activists say the construction will have disastrous effects on the surrounding environment and biodiversity.

They have been contesting the project for several months now.

French police clash with environmental activists

On Sunday, French gendarmes were called to the southern Tarn département to clear a temporary camp blocking the construction of the new A69 motorway.

Police used tear gas to disperse the activists and armoured vehicles to bulldoze the barricades.

At least 7 people were arrested.

Among the protesters was environmentalist Thomas Brail, who recently spent weeks sitting in a tree on a hunger strike outside the French Environment Ministry.

After Brail reached his 40-day hunger strike target, work on the motorway was halted for a week.

Construction resumed on 16 October prompting renewed demonstrations.

Online footage appears to show Brail being removed unconscious from the motorway protest after the clashes with French law enforcement.

Mass demonstration to protest French motorway construction

The intervention on Sunday comes after a mass demonstration was held on Saturday to protest the motorway construction.

Organisers claim around 10,000 people attended the rally while the government puts the number at 4,900.

Official reports say two policemen were “lightly injured” during the demonstration and dozens of “knives, iron bars and pickaxes were confiscated.”

Protests against the construction of the 53-kilometre-long A69 motorway began earlier this year.

Authorities say the new route between Toulouse and Castres will cut up to 35 minutes off the journey time and bolster the regional economy.

But environmentalists, scientists and farmers have criticised the costly project saying it will add to pollution, reduce farm land and threaten biodiversity.

The construction will involve cutting down around 200 trees.


“This project contradicts our national commitments to the fight against climate change and to our net zero targets on ‘artificialisation’ and biodiversity loss,” activists wrote in an open letter in September.

The government responded by saying it would plant trees to offset the road’s carbon footprint and deforestation during construction.

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