They arrived in large numbers, determined to make themselves heard. “We are more determined than ever, we do not want the future to which they condemn us, our slogan is “Love and rage, no macadam”! », Says Amalia, from “Extinction Rébellion” Toulouse, one of the collectives which called for mobilization against the A69, this Saturday October 21.
“There were already nearly two thousand of us yesterday (Friday) evening. For the last mobilization in April, there were 8,200 of us and we hope to be as numerous today,” adds Étienne Fauteux of the same collective.
The battle of opinion is on
Above all, the demonstrators believe they feel that the tide is turning. In the standoff between them and the State, public opinion would now be on their side. Based on an Ifop survey carried out a few days ago among the population of Tarn and Haute-Garonne, Gilles Garric of the collective “La Voie est libre”, indicates that 61% of respondents are in favor of abandoning of the motorway project and that 82% of them are in favor of a local referendum.
“There is really public opinion which has turned in our favor and we are legitimate to continue to fight on all grounds”, he judges, while Lena who speaks in the name of the “Uprisings of the Earth » believes that this highway project is “an example of the projects we are fighting against, the projects of the past”.
However, the work continues. After a short suspension at the end of last week, the work of the A69, a section of motorway which would reduce the Castres-Toulouse journey by around twenty minutes and must be put into service in 2025, resumed on Monday, the government saying “determined to bring this project to fruition, which was decided democratically and systematically confirmed by the judge”.
The opponents believe, for their part, that all legal recourses have not been purged and believe that the project can still be abandoned, basing their hope on the success of the mobilization against the airport in Notre-Dame-de-France. Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique). This led to the failure of this project, although it was popular in a local referendum.
“400 extremely virulent people”
On the sidelines of the route, radical opponents set fire to a factory, alerted the Tarn prefecture on the social network (formerly Twitter). “An extremely virulent group of 400 people is currently attacking a cement company and started a fire,” she said at 2:41 p.m. The firefighters had to dislodge them to put out the fire.
In terms of security, the police were widely mobilized to prevent any excesses. Some 1,600 police officers and gendarmes are deployed, according to the prefecture, twice as many as during a previous demonstration against the A69 last spring. The latest gatherings of the radical environmentalist movement, notably during the protest against the “mega basins” project in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres), on October 30, 2022, were punctuated by violence.