What is the ZAD?
The ZAD (‘Zone to Defend’), is the site near Nante in Western France of a 9+ year occupation against the construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport by French construction giant, Vinci. The occupation has a become a focal point for anti-capitalism and ecological direct action in France and has seen both repression from the French state and militant resistance from the occupiers and local residence. The ZAD has huge support across France, a recent day of action saw a protest of 60,000 and solidarity actions across the country.
See Reading and the statement below for more information on La Zad.
What is the current situation?
A Nantes court has recently made a decision to go ahead with the eviction of the remaining official residents who refused to sell their land. With this legal hurdle out of the way, it looks likely that attempts will be made to evict the occupations later this year, after a local ‘referendum’ on the airport has taken place.
This recent statement written by people in La Zad explains more about the occupation, its purpose and the current situation:
“Statement from occupants of the ZAD struggle against the airport and its world on February 27, 2016
Tuesday 1 March 2016, by zadist
Hello, We here present a statement from the occupants of the ZAD, which we tried to create collectively. It was done through open discussions to enact proposals, and we reread it repeatedly in the weekly meeting of the occupants of the ZAD. The result is a voice that, although it certainly does not reflect all the opinions of everyone, is a voice that we created together.
Each week, month, and year that passes, we see the merchants’ empire colonizing the last areas that escaped the widespread privatization: seeds, carbon, soon retreats…
From endured massive exploitation, the planet is exhausted, and so are the people and all the other living beings. And it’s not those fashioned masquerades like the COP 21 that will change anything about it. For those whose profits will never be enough, our lives, our homes, and our imaginations are only markets to conquer.
But the economic war is not enough for them. Recently, the state of emergency, the enhanced surveillance of the people, the imprisonment of those that don’t fit into the mold, and the closure of borders all testify to the repression of the state empire.
So for us, and what we do in Notre-Dame-de-Landes, it’s not only a fight against the airport to save the land and homes. It is also, and above all, a fight against the world which imposes its projects, the world that imprisons and kills. If we find ourselves among so many and diverse people today, it is because we feel that many struggles are linked together, and here we are given strength and also an opportunity to unite and to meet people who want to do something about it.
Because, unfortunately, there are people evicted from their homes every day, without a protest by thousands of people; because there are migrants that are harassed and parked in Calais and elsewhere; we want to continue to make this place a crossroad for struggles, so we can support, create solidarity, and share with each other.
What brings us here is a desire to get out of a global system of domination. This domination is exemplified by the big corporations that manage to do what they want and destroy people’s lives because they are the ones who have money and power. It is also the domination of men over women in all our daily relationships. We want a woman to wander alone in the street without being whistled at. We want to live in a world that is not determined by our birthplace, our skin color, or our gender.
We affirm and embrace our determination and our constancy to want to live here, far from the administrations, the cops, private property, and authority in all its forms. We collectively oppose all that, with our wants and desires, to combine our differences, our diverseness, and even those differences that sometimes create blockages, to learn to overcome together. This lifestyle, as marginal as it may seem, gives temporary shelter for some, or a home forever for others, while remaining a perennial island of resistance, an Achilles heel for the powerful.
What is is fruitful and strengthening here is our diversity of occupants, the neighboring towns and surrounding villages, the inhabitants called “historical” people, and the other struggles passing by. We would not have the strength we have without all these different but connected people. This interdependence is the opposite of the atomization against which we struggle. We count on the fact that what we build here and that what unites and strengthens us will continue to put a spanner in the wheels of power.
The airport will not happen, and we will continue to live here together with all those who want to. We are already prepared for it and we think about the next struggles that will lead to a collective management of land liberated by the movement. We will never be intimidated by expropriations, their proceedings, or by announcing a bogus referendum. If authority does not know what to invent, it may be that it is ready to fall…
We are ready! Ready to defend what has been built here together. We will tolerate neither eviction nor the start of construction. For us, everyone must be able to use the means of resistance which they deem relevant–whether that means to sit on a path and stay there, to build barricades, to sabotage the constructions, to participate in the supply, or to relay the stories about it. This is solidarity with all forms of struggle–whether we agree to them or not, we understand and accept them. This diversity of tactics was victorious with “operation Caesar” in 2012, and it will be victorious again! Together, we continue to participate in resistance against this world of repression and the religion of money.
Vinci, fuck off! Resistance and sabotage!”
Who is Ukzad?
We are an autonomous group helping organise UK solidarity with la Zad and to help resist if and when an eviction attempt is made.
Initial plans are to arrange a trip to la Zad some time in the summer and to organise a rapid response for UK people to get to.
Email ukzad[@]riseup.net or use the contact form.
How to get to La Zad
The ZAD is located about 20km north of Nantes, within the municipalities of Notre-Dame des Landes, Vigneux de Bretagne and Grandchamps.
Nantes is well connected by train with regular fast services to Paris. Check out the French national rail operator SNCF or use the german site bahn.de which is great for finding international connections.
From Nantes you can catch the number 71 bus for 2 euros. Th buses stop quite early in the evening in which case you would have to hitch from the last Tram stop in the direction of Orvault.
If you are hitching check out hitchwiki.org to research possible hitching route/spots.
Nantes is in the west of France, 4 or 5 hour drive south west of Paris which is about 450km away and a pretty easy hitch. Calais is at least a good seven hours by road, 600 to 700km away and although it is possible to hitch in a day it is not unusual for it to take longer. Much nearer is St Malo, with ferries to/from Portsmorth, Weymouth, Plymouth and Poole in the UK, just 180km north of Nantes, about 2 hours by road.
You might like to checkout Carpooling.com which will help you find lift shares to/from Nante etc.
If you will be driving, it is compulsory in France that you carry your driving licence, car registration papers and insurance documents. On non French registered vehicle, a sticker showing the country of origin must be attached to the vehicle, even if this is already indicated on the registration plate. If your vehicle is right-hand drive you are required to use headlight adapters (available as stickers). You are also required to carry a warning triangle and fluorescent safety vests (one for each person). It is compulsory to wear a seat belt front and rear.
If you want to email us, use the address zad at riseup dot net (replace at with @ and dot with a dot ;-) Do not expect a quick reply!”