French airport activists start unblocking road

Farmers and activists of the "ZAD" movement (Zone to Defend) celebrate after French PM announced the government's official decision to abandon the airport project, in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, outside the city of Nantes, western France, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says that the government has decided against building an airport in western France that has mobilized nearly a decade of sometimes violent protests and he told protesters occupying the site that they must leave. (AP Photo/Mathieu Pattier)

PARIS (AP) -- French activists say they are have started to unblock a road they used to occupy, in a move that eases tensions three days after the government abandoned plans to build a new airport in the west.

Anarchists, farmers and environmental activists said in a statement Saturday that they want to make the road a "shared" space with drivers.

They warned the French government against potential "expulsions" of people living in the makeshift settlement they built in a vast area around Notre-Dame-des-Landes, outside Nantes, to resist plans for the airport.

Activists previously said they hoped to transform the occupied land into "a space of social, environmental and agricultural experimentation."

Unblocking roads was a key request of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe after announcing Wednesday the decision not to build the airport.