France abandons plans to build new airport in the west

PARIS (AP) — France will abandon plans to build a new airport in the west, the prime minister announced today, ordering the activists who have been protesting the project for nearly a decade to leave their makeshift settlement and unblock nearby roads.

Despite their long-sought political victory, the activists refused. Nantes Mayor Johanna Rolland, meanwhile, said the national government "ceded to blackmail and threats."

Security forces began deploying extra forces to the area near Nantes even before the announcement, among the most divisive decisions since President Emmanuel Macron took office eight months ago.

"The Notre-Dame-des-Landes project will be abandoned," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. "This is a logical decision, considering the dead-end where this project has found itself."

He noted that plans for the airport were first made 50 years ago and "the debate should have ended long ago."

Philippe said the activists who have camped out for years to protest the plan must start clearing roads they have blocked or police would step in. He gave the squatters until spring to pull up their stakes.

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