Notre-Dame-des-Landes, France: ZAD update

So it just kicked of again in the ZAD, heres a first hand account of what happened. It’s a bit long and probably has grammatical errors.. My ZAD experience this time has been completely different juxtaposed to last years adventure. Hitching from Nantes to La ZAD this time a year ago no one new about the anti-arport occupation where as this year everybody was talking about it [after the evictions in November the ZAD was national front page news]. I had to get dropped off slightly outside the zone because the police had set up a check point on the road. After spending too long walking over fields with all my tools and backpack. I finally got onto the D281, the whole road is in the control of the ZAD residents. At first I passed a few stacks of branches blocking parts of the road, I thought it was pretty cute. Then every 10-50 meters would be a new barricade usually bigger than the last until I was see huge piles of tires, haystacks and other burnables with spikey shit jutting out of it and painted messages all over the road, trenches dug deep through the tarmac and stone until they hit water, projectiles lying in wait everywhere!

There is an air of militancy around the ZAD that wasn’t there before, this is a real reinvention the meaning of “barricaded up to fuck”. Yet despite this need for defenses there is still a lot of really cool projects going on. There is still the ZADs own bakery, farm, bike workshops, libraries, pirate radio, bars, internet cafe/comms van and probably loads more that I haven’t stumble across yet.

I was anxious about coming because I’ve had reports of the ZAD [at the moment] being hard for people turning up who don’t already know people on la ZAD especially if [English is not your 1st language]. This is a bit true but I think if you have a little self confidence and an initiative to get up and do stuff you’ll be alright.

The weekend just saw an event called “Seme Ta ZAD” inviting the public to come for a day of demonstration and various gardening events. Tonnes of people of all ages and backgrounds rocked up and the event was really successful. During the weekend the cops left their usual permanent check point on the D81 road. ZADians and their supporters wasted no time reclaiming the road with barricades and trenches dug out with pick axes.

Monday morning I woke before Sunrise and cycled the several kms to the freshly liberated road. People were already standing around, some masked up, watching figures on the opposite hill. At 1st I was unaware what was unfolding. It later transpired that people were harassing the cops before the could have their pre-raid breakfast. The cops aimlessly chased the figures around the field a bit firring tear gas and concussion grenades. Then the avant garde came running back and thats when things kicked the fuck off.

The cops rocked up in vans in front of the 1st barricade and ran into the adjacent woods and field trying to flank and rush us. Bricks, bottles and the first molotov came out. In the confusion or out of stupidness a unit of the filth rushed into the middle of crowd [now aprrox 30 and growing rapidly]. Two hero cops jumped a combatant and all 3 ended up in a large ditch on the side of the road. Then the next thing I know our friend has made it out of the ditch and the cops are getting beaten hard by their own battons! A cop across the road is also getting a kick in. The rest of their “courageous” unit have bricked it returned to the safety of the woods. The two manage to stubble out of the ditch and as they ran off one gets hit with a molotov and is a burning cop. The crowd cheer.

Moments later the cops move in with force carpeting the road in tear gas fired out of launchers. The stormtroopers dressed head to toe in armor and gas masks make a slow advance under a hail of stones, fireworks and flares.

More and more gas is fired, a lot ending up in puddles in the ditches, a lot getting thrown straight back [careful that shit burns even with gloves]!
In a filed by the cross roads I see a person no less than 5 meters have a stun grenade blow up in his face ripping it open. Luckily there where medics to hand including a doctor, none the less this guy needed hospital treatment his eyebrow was hanging off [an ambulance was quick to respond].


The tear gas isn’t too bad if you just catch the periphery but it’s nasty shit when your in a cloud of thick white smoke coughing up a lung getting rushed by pigs. I had to change masks several times due to them getting contaminated. People were carrying round saline solution to flush the eyes. The concussion grenades are a different kettle of fish. They are essentially a less lethal frag grenade without the outer casing. They still fire off nasty bits of shrapnel that cut people open and when goes off you know about the bang for miles around, not fun for standing next to! Apparently a ZAD resident lost some toes in the evictions due to one of these bastards.


After the filth had taken back the cross roads with now hundreds of police they continued their advance into the Grand Forrest and down some other roads. Barricades where set alight and the cops halted at just after midday. There where 3 injurys on our side 3 on theirs and 4 arrests. The ZAD has issued a press release stating the the invasion of the cross roads by the police is an act of military occupation. Demonstrations took place outside police stations in over 10 cities across France including the blockading of one with a tractor. Also I believe there was an occupation of a police station.


Things are a lot calmer on the ground now. Although the cross roads is to be avoided as the cops are controlling people and arresting them if they do not show ID.