Cold snap for democracy

If on 25 September, whilst the 11:00 train carrying ministers and secretaries of state set off, security forces had let our handful of local citizens hold up their banners along the railway tracks going up to Montenvers, our demonstration would have been over by 11:30 and the press would have made very little mention of our action. However, in the face of the extreme reaction from the security forces, who denied us any access to the mountains and the railway tracks, we spent the rest of the day trying to divert their attention in order to raise our banners in front of the ministers. The press, ever present, gave us the chance to speak and echoed our demands and indignation at being treated like terrorists.

No longer naive enough to believe the promises of our leaders, we had not requested an audience with the ministers visiting Chamonix on 25 September. For 20 years, our organisations have been received by ministers, prime ministers and other presidential candidates. Each of them made us promises. Prime minister Raffarin was going to make Mont Blanc a sanctuary, future President Sarkozy said «with me, it will be different, there will be a break through».  Ministers Gayssot and Jospin promised the construction of the Lyon-Turin tunnel for 2012 or 2013 and the doubling of freight transport by rail in France. At that time, 10 million tonnes of freight were being transported by rail in Savoie, today, this figure is down to 3.5 million tonnes. A third of the previous tally!

In mid-september, we clearly stated to our authorities that we wanted to obtain, not a meeting, but answers regarding the transfer of heavy goods vehicles from road onto rail throughout the French Alps. Our authorities were well aware of our position before the arrival of the ministerial delegation on 25 September, yet no answer was given to this question.

View press coverage in French here

Text posted on Facebook, in French, on the evening of 25 September 2015 and shared by record numbers of people:

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