Sainte-Soline mega-basin | Thousands of demonstrators left Vanzay to “approach and surround the basin”
More than 3,000 police forces mobilized on one side, 1,500 “violent activists” expected from the other: the new demonstration against the mega-basin project, symbol of the tensions around access to water, is placed under high security on Saturday in Deux-Sèvres.
Up to 10,000 people are expected by the authorities around Sainte-Soline, where one of these reservoirs intended for agricultural irrigation is under construction, five months after a previous rally marred by clashes. “As the country rises up to defend pensions, we will simultaneously stand up to defend water”claim the organizers, who have set up a camp a few kilometers from Sainte-Soline, in the town of Vanzay, on the edge of the prohibition perimeter.
After several speeches on Saturday morning, a first procession of 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”said a member of the Earth Uprisings, one of the organizing movements.
Several elected EELV and LFI demonstrate on Saturday, while observers of police practices mandated by the League for Human Rights must “document policing” during the weekend. “Our determination is intact because we are fighting for just causes (…) on the retreats, it is intact, on the basins, it is intact, on the climate, it is intact”hammered Marine Tondelier, national secretary of the environmentalist party, on the platform in Vanzay.
The Sainte-Soline basin is part of a set of sixteen 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” water by “agribusiness” in times of climate change. The Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, defended on France Inter a project “exemplary” in terms of “sobriety” agricultural.
Source: Le Monde