20,000 rally in protest at contested French airport site

Opponents of the creation of the international airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes demonstrate on January 9, 2015Around 20,000 demonstrators blocked roads around the western French city of Nantes on Saturday in protest over a controversial airport development, organisers said, although police put the number at 7,200. With some agricultural organisations threatening to maintain an indefinite blockade of one of the main bridges over the Loire, thousands of people, some on foot, others on bikes or driving tractors blocked roads in the area demanding the cancellation of expulsion orders handed to 11 families and four farmers living at the site. Protesters have been engaged in a 15-year legal battle to block construction of a major new airport on swampland outside the city, with Saturday’s demonstration the biggest gathering in two years.

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