The first clashes broke out on Saturday between demonstrators and the police around a disputed water reserve under construction in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres), where thousands of people mobilized despite the ban on the gathering.
A long procession had started to parade at the end of the morning, made up of at least 6,000 people according to the prefecture, “probably a little more”, and around 25,000 according to the organizers – the collective of associations “Bassines non merci”, the environmental movement of the Earth Uprisings and the Peasant Confederation.
More than 3,000 gendarmes and police have been mobilized by the authorities, while “at least a thousand” violent activists, “ready to do battle with the police”, participate in the rally.
“The goal is to approach and surround the basin to stop the construction site,” said a member of the Uprisings of the Earth at the start of the procession which then split into several groups for this purpose.
As the site approached, clashes erupted rapidly between law enforcement and radical activists, with projectiles thrown and mortar fire to which police and gendarmes responded with tear gas and water cannon, according to reports. AFP journalists.