French police fire tear gas to disperse 10-year-old anti-capitalist camp

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Protesters in gas masks walking amid tear gas following clashes with police in western France's Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

They were protesting against their eviction from an anti-capitalist camp set up 10 years ago at the site of an abandoned airport project.

Clashes erupted at dawn when protesters threw petrol bombs at officers and set fire to barricades made of tyres and wooden pallets to obstruct the police's advance on the camp, which is near the city of Nantes.

Activists have been squatting on the farmland since 2008 and the camp has grown into a sprawling 1,600ha settlement billed as a utopian leftist farming community. In January, the French government announced it was calling off plans for the airport and warned the squatters that they must vacate the land by spring.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'French police fire tear gas to disperse 10-year-old anti-capitalist camp'. Print Edition | Subscribe