August 2017, a demonstration was organized against the Cigéo project for the underground storage of radioactive nuclear waste, in Bure, in the Meuse. Violence breaks out with the police and facilities are degraded. Almost four years later, seven opponents are tried before the Bar-le-Duc criminal court, in particular for “criminal association” and “unlawful demonstration”. The procedure put a brutal brake on an opposition which is just starting to recover.
“It was terrifying to come here the first time, it’s very scary. I think that was precisely the point, to dissuade, and it worked really well.”, says Antoine. He is one of those who have regained a foothold in the house of resistance in Bure. This lawyer comes intermittently in this large building which serves as a gateway and a point of referral for activists. Antoine participates in the revival of the opposition after a long period of vacuum caused by the judicial investigation and a very tight network of gendarmes on the ground.
In 2018, the opposition is at the bottom of the wave. Legal pressure worries historical opponents who live near the site and those who have come from elsewhere to get involved. Jean-Pierre Simon is an opponent from the start. This farmer explains that the front had to temporarily move: “We had to rebuild around that, and it was not possible to do it on the spot. This reconstruction took place everywhere in France and even abroad. With people who work together on the fight and on d ‘other projects at the same time. “
The face of this opposition has also changed. In 2016, the social movement and the Zadists were at the forefront. Today, feminists participate in this mobilization. Nuclear power, for example, is not the entry point for Anouk: “My point of attachment is feminism, transfeminism and feeling, as an assigned female person, at ease in a political place.”
A collective animates the action of feminists against the landfill project: Atomic Bombs, with a first mobilization in September 2019. Françoise is part of it: “We like to write leaflets and distribute them in the streets, in the surrounding villages, we also want to do participatory projects and learn knowledge. We want to build things together and have fun.”
“We can still have a say, oppose to maybe prevent that from happening.”Marguerite, an activist
There is also the Semeuses collective, which cultivates fields, and a front of NGOs and unions. Bure is experimenting with a new dynamic of opposition, which attracted Marguerite: “It still embodies a place where there is something to change, it is not already built, it is not already done.”
Even today, activists are vigilant about security. They all use assumed names. They criticize the violence of the investigation, which used means usually deployed against organized crime. With the trial, the activists will be able to count themselves and regain visibility, at a time when the declaration of public utility on the storage center is being investigated.
The opposition to the Cigeo project had to reorganize – the report by Etienne Monin