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French Resistance: Protests Erupt Over Lyon-Turin Railway Construction

French Resistance: Protests Erupt Over Lyon-Turin Railway Construction
photo: Denis Balibouse, Reuters; France 24/French Resistance: Protests Erupt Over Lyon-Turin Railway Construction
21 / 06 / 2023

On June 18, France witnessed mass protests against the ongoing construction of a railway line set to link Lyon and Turin. The peaceful demonstration soon escalated into a clash between law enforcement and protesters.

As per BFMTV reports, demonstrators resorted to tear gas grenades and hurled various objects at the police, prompting a stern response from the authorities with tear gas, leading to a fire outbreak.

French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, acknowledged the severity of the situation on Twitter, confirming that a dozen police officers suffered injuries during the clashes. Local authorities also reported injuries among demonstrators, with an estimated three to four thousand protesters participating in the rally. The main concern driving this opposition is the environmental impact, as demonstrators allege that the railway construction has caused several springs and reservoirs in the valley to dry up.

The controversial high-speed railway, financed primarily by the European Union, is intended to connect Lyon and Turin and includes a 57-kilometre tunnel under the Alps. With the total length of the route being 270 kilometres, 70% of the tracks are to be laid in France and the remaining 30% in Italy. The uproar against this infrastructure project brings attention to the delicate balance between progress and preservation, a tension likely to persist as Europe continues its ambitious infrastructural development.