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French Environmentalists Squat in Treetops, Clash With Riot Police to Prevent Construction of New Airport

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"Airport = Capitalism. Immediate Stop"

An anti-airport protester looks down at police from a makeshift shelter in the trees during the evacuation of protestors on land that will become the new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, western France Saturday Nov. 24, 2012. (Photo: AP)

An anti-airport protester looks down at police from a makeshift shelter in the trees during the evacuation of protestors on land that will become the new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, western France Saturday Nov. 24, 2012. (Photo: AP)

(TheBlaze/AP) -- Protesters squatting in treetop tents and makeshift shelters are battling French riot police trying to expel them from the site of a planned airport in western France.

Officers hurled tear gas projectiles and protesters responded with gas bombs and stones, as the two sides went head to head for a second day over a project that critics say will destroy woodland and cause pollution.

Protestors against a project to build an international airport clash with riot police following the evacuation of their squat, on November 23, 2012 in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, western France. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Eight people were arrested Saturday and three were hurt in the fighting, according to the Sipa news agency.

The issue has split the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, which includes some Green Party members. Ayrault is the longtime mayor of the nearby city of Nantes and has championed the airport plan.

Here are some more photos of the fiery protests:

Protestors against a project to build an international airport clash with riot police following the evacuation of their squat nearby, on November 23, 2012 in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, western France. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

French gendarmes detain a protester during an evacuation operation on land that will become the new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Nov. 24, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Police use a water cannon to disperse the protesters in Nantes western France as part of a protest against a project to build a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes on Saturday Nov. 24, 2012. (Photo: AP)

People hold a banner reading 'Airport = capitalism. Immediate stop' during a demonstration on November 24, 2012 in Nantes, western France, to protest against a project to build an international airport, in Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

A person holds a placard reading 'Keep on attacking us, you put us together' during a demonstration on November 24, 2012 in Nantes, western France, to protest against a project to build an international airport, in Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

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