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Communiqué - Statement by Promoters of Agricultural Activities and Other ZAD Residents Regarding the Expulsions Now in Progress

Tuesday 17 April 2018

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Communiqué - Statement by Promoters of Agricultural Activities and Other ZAD Residents Regarding the Expulsions Now in Progress

Tuesday 10 April 2018

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In the context of the press conference given this afternoon at 2 p.m. by some thirty persons representing the various agricultural, para-agricultural, craft, and cultural activities in the ZAD.

Communiqué - Statement by promoters of agricultural activities and other ZAD residents regarding the expulsions now in progress

Today at La Rolandière some 30 of us, representatives of the various agricultural, para-agricultural, craft, and cultural activities in the ZAD, were present. We carried a collective message in response to the falsehoods being spread since yesterday by those who are evicting us. We have projects that are very diverse in terms of form, but we are in absolutely solidarity – even more so since the Prefecture is attempting to divide us through its threats of destruction our activities and our living and working spaces.

Yesterday, the Cent Noms farm was destroyed. Again this morning, the gendarmes were attempting to attack the large collective produce garden at Les Rouge et Noir and the adjacent medicinal-plants garden. Today all the activities and dwellings in the Zone are threatened. The government has chosen to interrupt dialogue, militarize the Zone, and come and destroy the hope that has been planted here on the land at Notre-Dame-des-Landes with backhoes, armoured vehicles, and thousands of police/army troops.

And yet, for the past several weeks, a process of dialogue and negotiation had been in progress with a joint delegation from the movement as intermediary. The delegation had affirmed to the public authorities our willingness to undertake a process of attaining conformity and legality for our activities and habitats in the Zone. It had already begun a certain number initiatives to achieve that end.

Following the meeting of the joint delegation with Lecornu, a request for a group meeting was sent to the Executive Director of the Mutualité Sociale Agricole [government social-security entity for salaried and non-salaried agricultural workers - ed. note] of the Loire-Atlantique. A copy of the registered letter requesting the meeting was sent to the Prefect, Nicole Klein. Ironically, this letter, sent in the name of the Association pour un Avenir commun dans le bocage [association for a common future in the bocage] was co-signed by a young farmer at Les Cent Noms. Contrary to what the Prefecture claimed yesterday in justification of the demolition, his flock was a duly declared agricultural activity.

Then on 28 March, during the joint delegation’s latest meeting with the DDTM [regional department of agriculture and fisheries - ed. note], the movement had called for another meeting as quickly as possible, before the beginning of the police/army operation that was being announced. On the agenda was the submission for study and discussion of a proposal for a Convention d’Occupation Précaire collective, a presentation on the work currently in progress, and the forming of a cooperative including both individual operations and collective activities, both activities that have existed for some time and others that have come into being since the announcement of abandonment of the airport project.

In the past weeks, a certain number of projects that did not have legal status formed associations under the Law of 1901 [governing non-profit associations - ed. note]. All the activities are interconnected and interdependent, for agronomic reasons (rotation of parcels) and also due to the sharing of tools, mutual aid and collective work sites.

During all these meetings, the joint delegation had asked for time to allow reasonable dialogue. The government, through its military operation, is conducting a strategy of screening, extortion, and cleansing of the Zone, one which we reject and deplore. In the context of such an intervention, it is unthinkable for us to sign individual agreements, given that localities may be destroyed at any time. The Prefecture is lying when it claims that individuals had begun seeking agreements. No one had done that because all of the agricultural, para-agricultural, and craft projects in the ZAD had decided to defend the scenario of a collective agreement.

If the dialogue is to resume, the expulsions must end. If the Prefecture continues to consider no other policy than repression, we have no choice but to continue to resist to defend the various living and working places in the ZAD. We know that since yesterday we have the support of an increasing number of individuals and organisations of all kinds. We call on all of our supporters to join us for a picnic at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday 11 April, at the Cheveux Blancs camp, between Les Fosses Noires and Les Vraies-Rouges, in the ZAD.

[This is the picnic that was attacked and dispersed by police/army using teargas, stun, and pellet grenades – including grenades dropped from helicopters – and Flash-Ball rifles, leaving several people of various ages injured. - ed. note]