the State ordered to pay more than 580,000 euros to two motorway companies whose tolls had been blocked by demonstrators

The State is civilly responsible for this damage committed in 2018 and 2019 during the demonstrations organized during the protest movement, considers justice.

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The State was ordered to pay more than 584,000 euros to two motorway companies for financial damage suffered during the demonstrations of “yellow vests” organized between November 2018 and June 2019. This decision of the administrative court of Rouen, dated June 23, concerns the Paris-Normandy Motorway Company (SAPN) and Sanef (North and East France Motorway Company).

In detail, the State will have to pay 27,687 euros to Sanef, after five demonstrations organized at toll stations, and 557,300 euros to SAPN after 32 demonstrations which led in particular to “operations allowing users to use the motorway without paying the toll”.

This decision follows a rejection by the prefects of Eure and Seine-Maritime to compensate the two companies. “These facts, which occurred in a context of nationwide protests, were not (…) committed by groups that would have been formed and organized for the sole purpose of committing crimes, unrelated to the protest movement on a national scale of ‘yellow vests’, contrary to what the prefect of Seine-Maritime claims” and Eure in defence, notes the judgment.

To justify its decision, the court relied in particular on an article of the internal security code, according to which “the State is civilly liable for damages resulting from crimes and misdemeanors committed (…) by armed or unarmed crowds or gatherings, either against persons or against property”. Justice also recognized the existence of degradations.

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