Demonstrators built a wall with the message ''The A69 will not pass'' on an arterial road in France

Demonstrators built a wall with the message ''The A69 will not pass'' on an arterial road during a demonstration against the A69 highway project between Castres and Toulouse, near Soual, south-western France, on April 22, 2023. Thousands of people opposing the A69 highway project start to gather in Saix, to protest against an infrastructure they deem contradictory in times of climate change.

(Photo by Jerome Gilles/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

French Campaigners Build Literal Block Wall to Oppose New Motorway

"Seriously we need to take some pointers from French protesting," said one U.S. observer. "Protestors built a brick wall on a national roadway opposing the building of a new highway. Activists say it will destroy 2,500 trees and surrounding habitats."

Over 8,000 opponents of a new motorway in southern France demonstrated near the village of Saix on Saturday to prevent the project, building a wall of people and then one from actual cement blocks as they vowed to defend local farm land and biodiversity in the area.

According to Agence France-Presse:

The demonstration in the Tarn region against the proposed A69 motorway drew in 8,200 protesters according to organisers; 4,500 according to the local authority.

They marched under intermittent rain along the route of the proposed highway, which would link the southern cities of Toulouse and Castres, carrying placards that read “Less energy, fewer cars and less tarmac” and other green messages.

The localized protest took place as many around the world observed Earth Day and the large-scale climate demonstrations known as 'The Big One' took place in London.

One progressive observer in the U.S. said people outside of France could learn a lot from the creative and ambitious form of direct action:

Greens MP Sandrine Rousseau, who attended Saturday's protest, told a reporter that the project represents thinking that dates back 30 years or more, when new roads for automobiles were seen as the smartest infrastucture investment.

Especially in the face of the climate crisis, "there is really no need of another motorway," said Rousseau who also called the A69 "a project from another time."

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