Sivens, France: Eviction of the ZAD of Testet!

Since the morning of the 6th March, the situation at Sivens has rapidly evolved…after some days of tension and repetitive aggressions from members of the FNSEA [*] towards the occupants of the ZAD of Testet, all has accelerated. Here is information about what happened, as taken from the website Tant qu’il y aura des bouilles and from an info of AFP, among other sources.

-Early this morning, the Maison des Druides [House of Druids] was “softly” evicted.
-Rally at 9:30, Griffoul place, Gaillac, to regroup and move towards the zone to recuperate friends of the ZAD. The eviction has already begun. But visibly, we are all waiting for the decision of the Council: will they abandon the dam project, or not?– 9:50: Thierry Carcenac, the socialist president of the department (TARN, 81) announced at the opening of the session of the Conseil General [CG: like the council at departmental level in France] that they accept to “downsize the initial project”, judged at oversized by Ségolène Royal, French Ecology Minister.
-Large numbers of police arrived at Albi, proceeding with the eviction of the area, but nothing is sure yet.
-Before choosing a solution to replace the initial dam project, Thierry Carcenac stressed that, from the outset, he was asking the CG to require of the State to “immediately evict the occupants”.
-11:00: One part of the fifty occupants at the ZAD of Testet folded up their tents, more or less resigned to continue resisting against the ratio of the police force…
-11:20: The CG of the Tarn voted for a reduced dam project on the site of Sivens after the government had excluded the disputed initial release. The results of the vote: 43 voices for, and 3 against, the reduced project, equally expressing “eviction without delay” of the opposants who occupied the site, some for over eighteen months.
– 11:45: The habitants of the ZAD of Testet stated they would voluntarily leave the area if
1) everybody who was charged in relation to the ZAD would be amnestied
2) all equipment taken by the gendarmerie [French military police] and the pro-barrage would be given back.
-12:01: The Prefecture gave the order to empty the area of opposants.
-12:25: The gendarmes entered the area of the ZAD of Testet.
-12:57: The FNSEA saluted the “courage” shown, “in a tense situation” by the CG of the Tarn, who decided to evict the ZAD of Testet.
In a communication, the agricultural union congratulated the “return to legality” on the site of Sivens and for a new project taking into account “the needs of water for agriculture, tourism, and low water streams”. They added a desire for “the respect of the law, evacuation of zadists and the beginning of work without delay”.
-14:00: There are people on the roof of the Metairie, a heritage-protected building within the area. There are others in Sitelle, the last tree standing in the valley where occupiers have resisted since October, 2014. An army of robocops push people on foot from Barat (a village at one end of the valley) towards the D999 (highway at other end of the valley). The same action was made, at the same time, from the fort. So we hope that the pro-barrage have decamped from the D999!
Callout for spontaneous rally in Gaillac!
Following the decision of the CG to maintain a retention project at the ZAD of Testet; for the immediate eviciton of all opposants; and the prohibition to gather in protest at Albi and other towns nearby the ZAD. The General Assembly of the ZAD of Testet called a rally for everybody shocked by this decision to join at the Place of the Liberation at Gaillac, beginning now until whenever.
Spontaneous picnic on the spot, a new General Assembly at 14:00, diverse initiatives; don’t hesitate to bring your musical instruments to dance and sing for life against the deadly power that governs us, under today’s magnificent sun.
If the rally is forced to move, it will stubbornly continue in other parts of town.
-14:04: Manuel Valls, prime minister, always ready to remind us, promises “a response extremely harsh from the state” toward those who are potentially recalcitrant to the eviciton.
-14:47: Stéphane Le Foll, Agricultural Minister, along with Ségolène Royal, Ecology Minister,  “saluted the deliberation of the CG of the Tarn on the outcome of the dam project”.
-14:55: The eviction of the ZAD of Testet is almost finished. Twelve people were arrested and placed in custody. There no injuries.
-At the Metairie, the police burn everything.
-15:35: The eviction of the ZAD of Testet was finished.

To follow: demonstrations elsewhere in France

Friday 6 March

-Toulouse: Rally at 4:30 at Compans Cafarelli
-Lille: Rally at 18:00, place de la République
-Paris: Rally in support of occupants of the humid zone of Testet, from 18:30, at the exit of the Metro station Belleville.
-Perpignan: Rally at 18:00 in front of the Chamber of Agriculture.
-Vannes: Rally in front of the Prefecture (Place du Général de Gaulle) from 18:30
(rally to denounce the brutality of the militia of the FNSEA of the Tarn and the compliance of the gendarmerie, and to continue to revendicate the stopping of the dam project of Sivens, and not its simple reduction, against the productivism of the agricultural industry, to support the zadists and other opposants to the dam).

Saturday 7 March

-Angers: Rally at 12:00, Place du Ralliement.
-Paris: Rally at 15:00 at the crossing of Rue de Belleville and Bvd de Belleville. “La FNSEA evict the ZAD of Testet, let us evict the FNSEA!”

Tuesday 10 March

Nîmes 14:00 in front of the FDSEA of the department (GARD), maison de l’agriculture 1120 route de Saint Gilles

[*] FNSEA is the national federation of agricultural exploitation unions, one key player in this struggle, they have been putting a lot of pressure on the government to evict the area of occupants and starting the dam project.

[Translation of article published 6th March 2015.]