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French police battle to evict anti-airport protesters

French police battled Tuesday to evict anti-airport protesters and the creators of an alternative anti-capitalist settlement in western France during a second day of clashes.

Some 2,500 officers raided the decade-old camp at Notre-Dame-des-Landes on Monday, destroying makeshift buildings topped with corrugated iron, a giant tent, a watchtower, and a sheep shed and cheese-making area.

The assault in a wooded area near the city of Nantes has seen dozens of rounds of tear gas fired, as well as stun grenades, while the occupants and demonstrators have responded by throwing petrol bombs and rocks at the security forces.

Activists opposed to the building of an airport began squatting on the farmland in 2008 and have since built up a community they bill as a model of sustainable farming and political debate.

In January, the government scrapped plans for the airport and told the protesters to clear out by spring. (AFP)

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