Police in western France clashed today, Saturday, with protesters opposing the construction of a large water tank for agricultural irrigation.
Thousands of protesters gathered at the planned site of a reservoir in the rural area of Saint-Sollen, where a similar protest last October resulted in injuries.
Opponents marched on Saturday in defiance of a ban on gatherings in Saint-Sollen.
The region’s governor, Emmanuel Duby, said around 1,000 “radicalized individuals” were expected among the protesters, who were believed to number at least 6,000.
Police fired tear gas to push back some protesters, who set off fireworks and other projectiles as they crossed fields to approach the fenced-in tank construction area. Television footage showed at least two police vehicles on fire.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the government had deployed more than 3,000 police officers to counter the protest.
And led to the worst drought in France last summer to intensify the debate over water resources in the largest agricultural sector in the European Union.
Proponents argue that artificial reservoirs are a way to use water efficiently when needed, while opponents argue that they are too large for large farms.