2,000 demonstrators are still present on the Sainte-Soline site to protest against the construction of a water reserve intended for agricultural irrigation. They built watchtowers and cut a pipe on October 30.
The mobilization continues this October 30 against the construction of a water reserve intended for agricultural irrigation in Sainte-Soline in Deux-Sèvres), with the destruction of a pipe supposed to supply the future reserve by hooded militants , in overalls and equipped with a grinder, shovels and pickaxes.
“We have just dropped one of the six arms of the octopus,” welcomed AFP Julien Le Guet, spokesperson for the “anti-basins” collective, the nickname given to these restraints by their detractors. A police helicopter flew over the scene but the police did not intervene.
The demonstrators destroy part of the pipe that will serve the pumping network of the future basin of Sainte-Soline with pickaxes. Action still in progress. pic.twitter.com/TjP7DDraD0
— France Blue Poitou (@Bleu_Poitou) October 30, 2022
According to information from BFM TVwho quotes a police source, the pipe cut by the demonstrators would in fact be connected to a family farm.
Watchtowers have also been built on the site. “Today, we are building a lookout, a lookout to anchor the fight on this ground, to be able to see the enemy coming,” David, a 43-year-old peasant baker who requested anonymity, told AFP. , by participating in the construction of a wooden tower.
“There are around 2,000 people left on the site, I remind you that the demonstration remains prohibited, so that any act aimed at trying again to enter the site of the reserve will again be ruled out”, had declared in the morning on France info the prefect of the department, Emmanuelle Dubée.
The day before, several thousand people (4,000 according to the authorities, 7,000 according to the organizers) had gathered in Sainte-Soline, east of Niort, to protest against the project. Violent clashes erupted with the 1,500 gendarmes mobilized when opponents of the project wanted to enter the site, which was forbidden to access. Some of them succeeded before being repelled. About sixty gendarmes according to the Ministry of the Interior, one of whom was hospitalized, and about fifty demonstrators according to the organizers of the demonstration, five of whom were hospitalized, were injured in this violence attributed by the prefecture of the department to radical militants .
Opponents want to register their actions over time
The future reserve intended for irrigation, with a capacity of approximately 650,000 cubic meters, the equivalent of 260 Olympic swimming pools, is denounced by its detractors as “water grabbing” by agribusiness, coupled with an ecological aberration at a time of global warming and repeated droughts.
Opponents of the project want to register their actions in the long term, the private land they occupy, loaned by a farmer, being available until mid-May. “This is going to be our base for the next actions against the site if it were to restart. ZAD or not ZAD, it will be in these terms, ”assured AFP Julien Le Guet.
Sainte-Soline is the second of a project of 16 substitution reserves developed four years ago by a group of 400 farmers to reduce their water withdrawals during the summer, thanks to the pumping of surface water tables in winter.
Access to this storage is conditional on the adoption of practices that are more respectful of the environment, but none of the beneficiaries of the first deduction has committed, for the time being, to reducing their use of pesticides.