As thousands protest plans to build a large French water reservoir, police clash with them.
Numerous people were injured during clashes that took place in Sainte-Soline’s western rural district.
According to the local prefecture, two protesters were severely injured, one of whom is in critical condition following a head injury. 16 police officers were also hurt.
One officer was evacuated via helicopter.
To repel protestors who were crossing fields to reach the district’s construction zone, police used tear gas to disperse them.
Television footage showed that at least three police cars were set on fire.
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Despite a ban on gatherings the demonstrators are against a large water reservoir to be used for farm irrigation.
According to Gerald Darmanin, the Interior Minister, around 3,200 police officers were deployed at the protest. Darmanin also blamed far-left groups.
Helicopters and quad-bike officers were part of the heavy police presence.
Emmanuelle Dubee was the prefect for the region. She said that around 1,000 radical protesters were to be found among the estimated 6,000 demonstrators.
France’s last-ever drought, which was felt throughout the UK and Europe, heightened the debate about water resources in agriculture.
Artificial reservoirs can be used to conserve water, according to supporters. However, critics claim that they favor large farms and are too costly.
Similar protests broke out last October, causing injuries.
After weeks of protests in France against a retirement reform that sees the retirement age increase from 62 to 64, the unrest about the irrigation project follows.
Since the government passed the legislation without a final vote in parliament, the protests turned violent, with rubbish piles set ablaze on the streets of Paris by riot police, tear gas fired and more than 300 arrests.
The state visit of the King to France on Sunday was to start but has been delayed due to ongoing violence and unrest.