“Mégabassins”: 6,000 people at the start of the event in Deux-Sèvres – France
Up to 10,000 people are expected by the authorities around Sainte-Soline, where one of these reservoirs dedicated to agricultural irrigation is under construction, five months after a previous rally marred by clashes.
The prefecture again banned the demonstration, organized by the collective of associations “Bassines non merci”, the environmental movement of the Uprisings of the Earth and the Peasant Confederation. “While the country is rising up to defend pensions, we will simultaneously stand up to defend water”, claim the organizers, who have set up camp a few kilometers from Sainte-Soline, in the town of Vanzay, on the edge of the prohibition area.
After several speeches on Saturday morning, around 6,000 people, according to the organizers and the prefecture, left on foot around 11 a.m. to try to reach the Sainte-Soline site in several processions. “The goal is to approach and surround the basin to stop the construction site,” a member of the Uprisings of the Earth told AFP.
A group of several hundred hooded people headed in a different direction, AFP found, as the audience overall seemed younger and less family-oriented than last time. “Do not fall into violence, the real violence is that of the State”, had previously launched to the crowd Julien Le Guet, spokesperson for “Bassines no thank you”. Under judicial control since last week, he cannot take part in the demonstration.
A police device deemed “amazing” by the organizers
The Ministry of the Interior mobilized 3,200 gendarmes and police officers, twice as many as in October, a system deemed “amazing” by the organizers. “There is a very large mobilization of the far left and of those who want to attack the gendarmes and perhaps kill the gendarmes and kill the institutions”, declared Gérald Darmanin, Friday, on Cnews.
According to the prefect of Deux-Sèvres, Emmanuelle Dubée, “about 1,500 radical activists”, from France and abroad, could mingle with the demonstrators, who remained mostly peaceful in the fall.
Saturday morning, she urged, in a press release, “those who wish to demonstrate peacefully and as a family to be very careful”, while “several hundred radical individuals are preparing violent actions”.
Weapons were seized ahead of the rally – petanque balls, slingshots, slingshots, incendiary products, knives and axes according to the gendarmerie. Several elected EELV and LFI are demonstrating this Saturday, while observers of police practices mandated by the League for Human Rights must “document the maintenance of order” during the weekend. “Our determination is intact because we are fighting for just causes (…) on pensions it is intact, on basins it is intact, on the climate it is intact”, hammered Marine Tondelier, national secretary of the party. environmentalist, on the platform in Vanzay.
A set of 16 restraints
The Sainte-Soline basin is part of a set of 16 reservoirs, with a total capacity of approximately six million cubic meters, which are to be built as part of a project led by a cooperative of 450 farmers and supported by the state.
It aims to store water drawn from surface water tables in winter, in order to irrigate crops in summer, when rainfall is scarce. Its supporters make it a condition for the survival of farms in the face of the threat of recurring droughts.
Its cost of 70 million euros is 70% financed by public funds in exchange for the adoption of agroecological practices by the beneficiaries, an empty promise according to opponents who denounce a “grabbing” of water by “the agro-industry” in the age of climate change. “There is only 6% of the useful agricultural area which is irrigated in France and there are 100% of farmers who suffer from drought”, declared Nicolas Girod, spokesperson for the Confédération paysanne, this Saturday on RMC.
Mega-basins in Sainte-Soline: “The vast majority of people who are there are present not to enter into conflict, but to raise the debate on the subject of water”, explains @NicolasGirod3ahead of the big event planned in Deux-Sèvres this weekend #MorningWERMC pic.twitter.com/Vrqoy6v7YN
— RMC (@RMCInfo) March 25, 2023
The Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, defended, meanwhile, on France Inter, an “exemplary” project in terms of agricultural “sobriety”. A total of 93 proposed reserves in the region are subject to legal challenges.
letelegramme Fr Trans