If there’s one thing the French love and are really good at, it’s a protest. Over the weekend — and coinciding with Earth Day — thousands of demonstrators set their sights on a new highway (or motorway as our European friends would say) in southern France. They took it a step further than just picketing, though. According to news site Common Dreams, protestors built a literal wall out of cement blocks as they vowed to defend local farmland and biodiversity in the area near the village of Saix.
The outlet reports that the protest against the proposed A69 motorway drew over 8,000 protestors; however, local authorities contest it was only 4,500. The folks reportedly marched along the proposed highway’s route that is meant to link the southern cities of Toulouse and Castres. They carried signs bearing messages like “less energy, fewer cars and less tarmac,” along with other pro-environmental messages.
Julien Bayou, a politician who is part of the European Ecology Green Party, told the South China Morning Post that the planned motorway was “anachronistic.” Another Green MP, Sandrine Rousseau, told the outlet that the project actually dated back to the 1990s. It was a time when conventional wisdom would tell us that people can only travel by cars and motorways. Since then, times have changed.
“There is really no need for another motorway,” she told the Morning Post.
Building a literal concrete wall as a highway protest may seem a bit drastic to you and I, but this is the French we’re talking about. Those folks live for this kind of stuff.