Two, Three, Many ZADs

A ZAD means a “zone to defend” (zone à défendre in French). These environmental protest occupations have recorded successes such as preventing an airport near Nantes and a dam in the region of Toulouse. This a roundup of recent ZAD news.

In July this year, activists from ANV-COP21 and Extinction Rebellion occupied land in Besançon near to the Swiss border, before handing it on to anonymous occupiers supported by Gilets Jaunes. They are resisting plans to build a controversial “eco-housing” district, saying they prefer the wetlands which are now threatened with destruction. Despite being initially reluctant to use the term ZAD, they are now going by ZAD des Vaîtes.

Currently, there is a standoff of sorts. The mayor refuses to negotiate until a watchtower has been demolished (for the safety of the campers she claims) and the Zadists are digging in for winter, having already celebrated two months of occupation.

Meanwhile at Roybon, a small village to the south of Lyon, the squatters have won! After a long struggle both in the courts and in the trees, Center Parcs Europe decided in July to halt their construction plans. They had planned to build a new waterpark and a thousand holiday cottages in a forest, sparking concerns about the amount of pollution it would have created. The Zadists have announced that after six years of occupation, they actually quite feel like staying, which has outraged the local mayor. She is calling for eviction and the story continues. More news on social media or at their website.

Most recently, at the end of August, a new ZAD was born in the wetlands at the mouth of the Loire river near to Nantes. Like its nearby big sister the ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), the ZAD du Carnet aims to stop environmental devastation. The wetlands are vital for hordes of migrating birds yet capitalism marches on and the port of Saint-Nazaire wants to expand.

The ZAD du Carnet is in its starting phase and wary of eviction, you can follow events on social media and its website zadducarnet.org. They have announced that if they are evicted, there will be a callout to reoccupy the site on the third following Sunday.

Meanwhile at ZAD NDDL, the annual ZAD en Vies festival happened in August and things continue as normal for those projects not evicted in 2018, although the farmers were finding it difficult that the markets had been closed due to coronavirus restrictions. Negotiations continue between the state and Vinci about damages for the cancellation of the airport project and to leave you with a laugh, Vinci are asking for one billion euros!

ZAD partout,

E.T.C. Dee


Image: Zad du Carnet, via Indymedia Nantes.