Despite the ban, between 3,000 and 4,000 opponents of the Lyon-Turin high-speed rail line demonstrated on Saturday in the Maurienne region (Savoie) to denounce the environmental consequences, particularly on water resources. Brief clashes broke out between police and protesters.
It is not a matter of backing down. Thousands of environmental protesters marched on Saturday June 17 against the Lyon-Turin high-speed train along a road in the Maurienne (Savoie) region, despite the ban imposed by the mayor’s office. The demonstration was marked by a brief occupation of the A43 motorway and riots near Saint-Remy-de-Maurienne.
This demonstration, which brought together more than 4,000 people, according to the latest estimates by the organizers, and more than 3,000, including “300 radical demonstrators”, according to the authorities, began from land donated by the municipality of La Chapelle, where the activists They had set up their base camp.
Brief disturbances broke out between the police and the protesters. “The police used tear gas to keep hostile protesters at a distance after the projectiles were fired,” the gendarmerie told AFP.
The march started quietly at noon under a strong sun, in response to a call from a dozen organizations, including the Soulèvements de la Terre (Earth Uprising), threatened with being banned by the Ministry of the Interior, and the Italian No -Tav (No-Tav), which campaigns against a “pharaonic” project that they consider “harmful” to the environment, biodiversity and water resources.
“We are all eco-terrorists,” some of the protesters shouted, as herds of cows watched the colorful parade pass by dressed in blue, the “dress code” of the demonstration, with flags and banners reading “La montagne se soulève.” (“The mountain rises”). Some were hooded in black, others with helmets, snowshoes or umbrellas, useful against drones, smoke bombs or assaults by law enforcement.
“Today is a historic moment in this valley (…) there are so many people from all over France, Italy and even Switzerland,” says Philippe Delhomme, a former town councilor who has been active for years in the association “Vivre et agir en Maurienne” (VAM).
The bans imposed by the Savoie mayor’s office in nine municipalities in the valley were confirmed for security reasons by the administrative court of Grenoble, which on Friday and Saturday rejected the petitions presented by the Greens (EELV), ATTAC Savoie and Vivre et agir in Maurienne, according to a source from the Ministry of the Interior.
After leaving the base camp located outside the prohibited perimeter, on land ceded by the municipality of La Chapelle, the delegation headed up the valley, towards the area covered by the prohibition orders.
elected representatives present
Nevertheless, several elected representatives attended the speeches, including the mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle, and several deputies, including the president of the Insoumis deputies, Mathilde Panot.
“The demonstration has been prohibited in a perimeter, we will demonstrate in another place,” the mayor of Grenoble said in a tweet.
The police, who expected up to 5,000 activists, including some “400 radical elements”, feared that small shock groups would go into action, according to a police source. According to the Savoie mayor’s office, at least thirty “foreigners subject to an administrative ban were detained and handed over to the Italians.”
Five buses full of Italian activists, around 250 people, also remained blocked at the border, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene.
“It is quite outrageous and funny that the state and the government decide to attack a movement, environmental activists, farmers and unions, when what really needs to be done now is to attack all industries and all those who are destroying living beings and causing us to die of heat,” said Pina, a spokesperson for Soulèvements de la terre, during the speeches.
26,000 million euros
“The promoters of these devastating projects can meet however they want, at our expense, eating toast and drinking champagne, while the opponents cannot show their discontent,” added Lorenzo, from the Italian No Tav movement, which has campaigned against the project for years. promoted by Brussels.
Backed by the European Union, the new line will link Lyon and Turin, with 70% of the track in France and 30% in Italy, and a 57.5-kilometre tunnel that will cross the Alps between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Suse. Estimated cost: more than 26,000 million euros.
Supporters of the project point to the need to reduce the increasing flow of heavy vehicles to limit greenhouse gas emissions. They also point to the economic development that a faster rail line will bring.
Opponents, on the other hand, point out that a line already exists and that the transport of goods by rail has not stopped decreasing in recent years. They also denounce the environmental impact of this “titanic railway project, which involves the drilling of 260 km of tunnels through the Alpine massifs.” According to them, the works have already dried up several springs and water catchments from the valley.
Source: France 24