18/02 demo : the Andra’s fences overturned by 20 years of restrained anger !

“If we had done that 25 years ago, it would not have go this way”

A former farmer from Mandres, passing by car to greet the march arriving at the Andra’s fences.

The 18th february was supposed to be a day of mobilisation against the possible eviction of the occupied forest, in the end it was more a great moment of humiliation for the Andra.

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It’s under a fresh and shy sun, at 11am, that a long joyful and colorful crowd of almost 600 people walks between Bure and the Bois Lejuc. From the point of view at the highest point of the Chaufour, one could see the imposing Andra’s laboratory and the future site for the works linked to the project of the nuclear dump. The march followed symbolically the path of the previous demos for the reoccupation of the forest during summer 2016, before going in, to share a meal prepared by the kitchen and discover the several houses. A warm atmosphere, while 700 yellow ribbons were distributed to decorate the branches, to symbolize the resistance of the forest to the nuclear desert.

Around 3pm, everyone with his own piece of the wall destroyed last august, a march of almost 700 people is on the road again to go to the laboratory through the village of Bure. There, an important presence of the police, hidden behind a barbed wire fence and anti-riot railings, kept the stronghold. A striking image, like the one of a 1km-long wall surrounding a forest : the one of the nuclear industry cornered, entrenched behind its high wall, kept by the police.

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The crowd walked rhythmically at the sound of the batucada, the metallic pounding of the stones on the crash barrier and the howls of owls and wolves, and kept going with determination in an electric atmosphere. From the road, it deployed along the “ecothèque” building and a large part of the march, going back and forth to the fences, finally succeeded in overturn a large part of those who resisted to the previous night visit, under teargas. Out of reach from the fire, the rest of the demonstration encouraged, enthousiastic, yelling and with music, painting on the road and setting fire to the geat colorful phoenix build for the occasion, symbol of a popular struggle rising again for a few years. An atmosphere really different from what was described by the prefecture, who’d like to diminish a legitimate popular anger, long restrained, to the single act of “50 hooded people”. But the same old media-police discourse of the minority of ultra-violent rioting demonstrators has no meaning in front of reality : a strong and joyful solidarity of the whole demonstration to a direct attack of the laboratory, on its field, for the first time in 25 years. If the world we are being promised is the one the Andra is promoting by imposing itself to a resigned and despised population, then yes, we are all breakers of this world.

Facing those who overturned the fences, the police charged with sting-ball and stun grenades, hurting in a few minutes around 20 people, two of them were evacuated to an hospital, while others suffered from several wounds due to splinters. In spite of the violence of this answer, happening when demonstrators were slowly going back, everybody returned calm to Bure.

On the evening, it was hundred of people who, after a lunch at the house of resistance, joined a big concert on a farmer’s field at our disposal, under a circus tent. There, a bar, informations, collective tents and first-aid space were ready to welcome everyone ! The crazy and joyful atmosphere lasted all night. A lot of people confessed that it was an historical day which will stay in our memories, one of those moments when you see the possibility of another world, a catch to reverse the way things go.

After the fall of the wall last summer, it was the laboratory’s fences that fell on this 18th february in Bure. In a few months, the stronghold, who thought itself untouchable, fissured : after 25 years of struggle, tens of thousands of inhabitants demonstrating, petitioning, organizing camps, then slowly resigning and getting tired, hope is rising again today. We allow ourselves to believe in another future for this land than an atomic and militarized bowel.