Hundreds march in southern France to protest new highway

Hundreds of French protesters on Saturday marched against the construction of a highway between Castres and Toulouse.

The demonstration was backed by several organizations, including Les Soulevements de la Terre (The Uprisings of the Earth), whom the government has criticized after protests against the construction of reservoirs in Sainte-Soline in March resulted in serious clashes between police and protesters.

Speaking to Franceinfo on Friday (April 21), Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stressed that, “unlike Sainte-Soline”, the demonstration planned for this weekend in Saix, in the Tarn department, was “authorized”.

With a length of 57 kilometers (35 miles), the highway between Castres and Toulouse would save between 20 and 40 minutes of travel according to estimates, and reduce traffic on a national road that crosses villages.

Work has begun to implement the plans, which dates back to 2006.