The procession went to the site of one of the two future “hot bituminous mix plants” which will produce the approximately 500,000 tonnes of coating for the A69.
Several hundred demonstrators (1,500 according to the organizing groups, 400 according to the prefecture) marched on Saturday in Tarn against the A69 motorway and the “bitumen plants» who must be installed on site to produce the coating for this contested project. Starting from the village of Saint-Germain-des-Près (Tarn), the procession bringing together local residents, parents and students from local schools as well as activists from environmental ociations and collectives, was to reach a small neighboring town but it finally branched off to join the construction site of one of the two future “hot bituminous mix plants” which will produce the approximately 500,000 tonnes of coating for the A69.
On site, around ten gendarmes using tear gas were unable to prevent more numerous activists from entering the site. Dressed in white overalls and most often masked, they climbed the black hills of “fraisat” (material from road recycling) which must be used by the power plant, with a long banner bearing the message: “No to the highway Castres/Toulouse. Against this ecocidal project!” Some carried signs with the names of chemical substances (nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, benzopyrene, sulfur oxide, etc.) which, according to them, are emitted by the power plants during use. An algeco was burned by militants during the action, releasing thick black smoke for a few minutes.
Health and environmental risks
At the start of the demonstration, Sabine, 68, retired from the construction industry and resident of Villeneuve-lès-Lavaur where the second power plant is to be installed, held her sign high: “we will pour your complacency into your concrete“. “They take us for imbeciles, for rednecks, telling us that what will come out of the factory is water vapor. They said to themselves “we are in the countryside, with peasants”, they looked down on us and now they are a little surprised“, she said.
The various citizen and local collectives created against bitumen plants denounce the risks to health and the environment presented by the fumes from these temporary installations which will produce the highway coating for several months. “Double punishment for the inhabitants, not content with imposing a useless, ecocidal and discriminatory highway on us, elected officials, the State, the concessionaire and the manufacturer NGE will smoke and pollute our daily environment», denounced Régis Lux of the Lauragais sans bitumen collective, before the departure of the procession.