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Hungerstrike Protest Against The Airport Development near Nantes (Notre Dame De la Lande)

May 7, 2012

Recieved from comrades in Brittany via email.

The 5th May on a street off the main thoroughfares a small group of people came to mark the anniversary of a protester and a protest that in 1981 held the world’s attention. Bobby Sands died that day. This street ‘Rue Bobby Sands’ is named in his honour. As in Nantes, just like many other cities throughout the world, the hungerstrike has left its’ mark on the human conscience.

The search for justice by hungerstrike is now being used by the people of Nantes to show their opposition to the airport development at Notre Dame de La Lande (NDDL), it is an attack on their human dignity.

The number 93 bus passes bearing the name Bobby Sands as its destination as As Jonathan Guillaume of Breizhistance begins to speak to those assembled here, supporters of Breton independence and radical left politics,such as Gealle Bertlaud a local councillor in St Herblain,   about the reasons we are here today. “To remember those who have fought injustice  in the past and to show solidarity with those who are struggling for justice now.” He reminds us of Bobby Sands 66 days without food, in a british prison, his just demands supported overwhelmingly by his community, denied without question by the British State.

Jonathan tells us this too is the problem, dealing Vinci and the French government. Despite the fact that legal prceedings are in place Vinci, the company in charge of the proposed plan, have commenced works. Vinci is a private company and this is will be a shared private public owned airport, the public will have to pay to foot the bill should it prove uneconomical, something which may be very likely given the current cost of aviation, and the many alternatives of flying from alternative airports. The International airport Roissy Paris will be connected to Rennes by high speed train by 2014, cutting journey times to little over an hour, its about the same time to travel Rennes Nantes by car, so the old argument for a  great west France gateway no longer is valid, the airports in Nantes and Rennes can meet all current demands. So why proceed with this development? The Government and Vinci argue mainly on economical terms, its going to be good for the economy. But an independent study refutes this, the rising cost of fuel, and the cost of connecting the new airport with Nantes by rail, something which is not costed  in the current plan of the development, and the option to travel by rail to Paris from Rennes instead of Nantes are real ecocomic arguments against this development. The initial projected costs around 550 million euros could be less than half of the actual cost of this development, at a timeof financial uncertainty it seems a big gamble to take with the public finances.But this is really about individual rights, about how we want to live in the 21 century. Its about giant sized corporations, who fund the political system (Vinci is a big backer of the socialist Party, Hollandes’ party)  being able to do as they please, and we the people must be quiet and do as we are told. The destruction of wildlife habitats and places where peope like to go to relax will be replaced with pollution, noise and concrete.The destruction of pristine farmland which will also be  another financial loss to the region, and the expulsion of thousands of people from their homes and livelihood  are raising serious issues for society and questions about who runs our society. In March over ten thousand  people and 230 tractors  took to the streets of Nantes to protest the development. We leave Rue Bobby sands and head into the city centre of Nantes, in a camp on one of the main streets of Nantes Michel Tarin retired farmer,  Gilles Denigot local councillor, Severine Durand farmer, Marie Chiron, sandrine le Luel farmer, Robert Chiron retired professor Nantes  university, are hungerstriking to get the peoples attention. Luckily it is not a hungerstrike to the death, Françoise Verchère local councillor, was on hungerstrike between 17th April and the 25th of April, Marcel Thébault between the 11th April and the 28th of April. They are reminding us that we are the people, this is our society and it must be for us to decide how we live in this enviroment, not the narrow vested interest of companies like Vinci.


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