Did the threatening tractors and slurry tankers get the better of the Travelers’ caravans? This Friday, the evangelical mission which illegally occupied agricultural land in Merlevenez left the scene. Two hundred teams installed last weekend have taken to the road again under pressure from farmers, the FDSEA, local elected officials and that of the prefect of Morbihan who convened, on July 30, a crisis meeting in Vannes. “We came very close to the clash. It was not possible for the situation to continue, ”emphasizes Joël Mathurin.
“Force must remain with the law”
Last Wednesday, the senior official had fears: determined not to let it go, a hundred peasants and exasperated elected officials showed their muscles by organizing a demonstration on the edge of the occupied site. The risk of a slippage hovered in the region of Lorient, a highly sensitive area on the issue of itinerant missions. Faced with the emergency, the prefect took, this Friday, an order requiring the owners of 400 caravans to leave the department by Sunday. “Force must remain with the law” he said, awaiting a “strong response from Justice”, following the proceedings initiated.
1,000 caravans for 600 places
Why 400 caravans? The decision was taken at the end of an exchange in the prefecture with representatives of Travelers, those from the agricultural world and local communities. Morbihan is experiencing an unprecedented situation: this week, “1,000 caravans were counted in 19 coastal municipalities. It’s too much, ”recalls the prefect, noting that the departmental reception plan is only sized for 600 units. An unprecedented influx that Travelers were able to explain: “They were to go to the south of France but the health situation encouraged them to come to Morbihan”, details Joël Mathurin. As a result, wild occupations of land, badly experienced in Merlevenez, causing several thousand euros of damage to a peasant. Or in Carnac, where wastewater discharges cause fears for the ecosystem and oyster farming, which is already fragile.
Revision of the reception plan
“A major disturbance to public order”, summarizes Joël Mathurin who concedes that the reception area of Hennebont, shunned by the evangelical mission which has withdrawn to Merlevenez, had suffered from the rains of the last few days. “Lorient Agglomeration is working on an emergency solution to allow the reception of the caravans of August 15th”. By then, the prefect proposed not to wait until 2023, as planned, to revise the departmental reception plan. A good way to avoid reliving in the summer of 2022 the bout of fever of the moment.
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