Policemen and demonstrators during the military camp extension protest, Larzac, France.
CRS et manifestants pendant la lutte contre l’extension du camp militaire, Larzac, France.
The Fight for the Larzac refers to a non-violent civil disobedience action by peasant landowners resisting the extension of an existing military base on the Larzac plateau in South Western France. The action lasted from 1971 to 1981, and ended in victory for the resistance movement when the newly-elected President François Mitterrand formally abandoned the project.
The base, used for training French soldiers, was originally established in 1902 on 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres; 12 sq mi) of uncultivated heathland. Michel Debré, Minister of Defence in theGeorges Pompidou administration, announced that the base would be extended to 13,700 hectares (34,000 acres; 53 sq mi) and that the necessary land would be expropriated in the public interest.
An initial informal resistance movement was formed by 103 landowners whose land was subject to expropriation. In 1973 their cause was taken up by a much larger group of heterogeneous activists, predominantly left wing, and numbering up to 100,000. This activist group descended on the Larzac in support of the peasant landowners and extended the protest to a more general action against what they saw as the militarism of the Pompidou government.
This action, once it had achieved its focal aims on the Larzac, was the core of what then became the Anti-Globalism movement, and also served to bring to public attention leaders such as Lanza del Vasto, José Bové, and the late Guy Tarlier