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Gens du voyage: near Lille, ten years of women’s struggle to change the scene

A change of air to breathe: since 2013, at a site for travelers near Lille caught between a concrete factory and a brick kiln, women have led the fight to claim a livable environment. creatures”. In the kitchen of her hut, with her three sisters, Sue Ellen Demestre displayed complete anger after a decade of commitment. Her family lived, in fact, for 15 years in this area, by her count of about 280 people squashed. A curtain of trees separated them from the crops concrete, embankments of debris crushing plants. Initially, families had set up “wild” camps on nearby land to spend the winter there. In 2007, a reception area was created, Besson law obliging municipalities with over 5,000 residents to have one. Initially satisfied, residents became disillusioned as cement scabs, conjunctivitis and respiratory problems, reports Sue Ellen. Not to mention the noise and ballet of trucks. But because there was no other solution and to educate children, they took root.Until 2013, Briqueeries du Nord was established in dialects gypsies. Petitions, demonstrations, filming follow one another – “We pay to die” – “We are kehi lang our 42 year old sister in law due to common cancer. His older brother also has cancer. Out of ten births, seven children end up with asthma. Parents have recurrent bronchitis”, lists Sue Ellen, pointing to “neighborhood racism”. Rent. “In July-August, it’s unbearable: you put down the phone, within two minutes it’s covered in dust”. Her 20-year-old niece , mother of two daughters aged 9 months and 6 years, took in her younger sister, who was suffering from respiratory problems and eye irritation. There is no official link between residents’ health conditions and pollution of the site. In November 2020, the prefecture asked concrete company CCB to assess its emissions at cost The measurements will be carried out “in the second quarter of 2023”, assures CCB. So far, no design office has agreed to intervene due to the “risk of degradation” of equipment by residents, pleading with the company. longer want to stay there”, said the elected representatives from the metropolis of Lille to the traveler, Patrick Delebarre. The relocation of this area is now recorded in the Tourist Acceptance Department Schematic. But finding other lands was tricky, he underlined. – A “unique” mobilization – “The current law requires us to place these people in a healthy place”, whereas at that time, “the way of looking at things is to say + the law requires them to be placed in a corner, let’s put them in the corner +”. The Department’s scheme provides suitable family or housing land, combining houses and pitches for caravans, as the area “is no longer up to the expectations of travelers from the North”, most of whom are settled, he explained. Ronchin and Hellemmes Communes are looking for land but “we don’t have many public buildings left” and there is a shortage of space, said Ronchin town hall. For William Acker, a legal expert from the Traveler community, women’s struggles in this area, “among the worst” in France, are unique “even on a European scale”. “Normally, struggles spread and are carried out very quickly, the public in the reception area unable to oppose the administration directly”. “Like it or not, they have succeeded in making us calm”, Sue Ellen summarizes. “But I want us to go our own way. We also want our children to have jobs that make them want to get up early.”bj/cab/cbn

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