A farmer was killed and her husband and daughter were seriously injured after they were run over at dawn on Tuesday January 23 at a farmers’ roadblock in Ariège. In a press release early Tuesday morning, the Ariège prefecture specified that the accident occurred at 5:45 a.m. “at the RD 119 bridge” in Pamiers, “at the scene of the agricultural demonstration”.

According to a police source, a “car drove into the dam for an unknown reason”. The dead person, Alexandra Sonac, raised, with her husband, dairy cows and cultivated corn in the village of Saint-Félix-de-Tournegat (Ariège). Her 40-year-old partner, “seriously” injured, and their teenage daughter, “in critical condition,” are still hospitalized, according to the Foix prosecutor’s office.

A judicial investigation has been opened for aggravated manslaughter and aggravated injuries, announced the Foix prosecutor, Olivier Mouysset, in a press release. The three occupants of the car – a man and two women of Armenian nationality – were taken into police custody as part of the open investigation. According to a source close to the AFP investigation, the three occupants are subject to an obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), after having had their asylum request rejected.

The Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, went to Pamiers late Tuesday afternoon. “We show the government’s emotion to the agricultural world,” he declared upon his arrival. “The farmers on the dams, they first need to be listened to, understood and responded to. And that’s what we’re going to do,” promised Mr. Fesneau. “We have been talking about simplification for twenty-five years, now that has to change,” he continued, adding that the “Prime Minister [was] committed to providing rapid responses, in the course of the week “.

“No more dams in Ariège”

For the moment, the first elements collected about the accident allow the prosecution to affirm that “the facts in question do not appear to be intentional”. The vehicle, traveling in the Toulouse-Andorra direction, “took national road 20, despite the system put in place to prohibit access”. “While traveling on the dual carriageway, their vehicle collided, in the middle of the night, with no public lighting nearby, into a wall of straw bales. (…) The vehicle then hit three people, before ending its course against the trailer of a tractor,” explained the prosecutor.

The prefect of Ariège, Simon Bertoux, announced the lifting of the blockade “out of respect for the family”. “There will no longer be a dam in Ariège,” he continued during a press conference. “In the particular moment that agriculture is going through, this kind of drama is difficult to live with,” reacted the president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, on RMC. The accident “underlines the need for us to be perfectly organized, to ensure that we respect safety instructions, because what is important for us is to get our messages across,” he said. also pointed out, calling “everyone to calm and reason and to ensure that this anger is expressed with respect for property and people”.

” Fed up “

The victim had been questioned the day before his death by the local Radio Transparence branch while she was present at the roadblock located on the RN20. Alexandra Sonac spoke in this interview about the difficulties of accessing water for irrigation and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (MEH), which affects her livestock.

“With the new disease, we have even more constraints, blood tests to do in order to sell…” she sighed. “We are one of the only professions for which we have products for which we do not decide the selling price,” she lamented, denouncing an “unacceptable” state of affairs, all of which generated deep “fed up,” “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

“I still have a family to feed. (…) I have two dependent children and we live for them. We don’t go on vacation, we don’t have days off, no fun with our children,” she regretted during this interview.

The mobilization will last “as long as it takes”, according to the FNSEA

Farmers have been demonstrating their discontent for several days, among other things through road blockages, to demand measures ranging from administrative simplification to faster compensation in the event of calamities.

In the South-West, the dam on the A64 near Carbonne (Haute-Garonne) remained in place and significant disruptions were reported on the A61, A62 and A20 axes. In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, traffic is partially cut on the A7 near Saint-Rambert-d’Albon (Drôme), as well as near Valence south.

In Hauts-de-France, farmers intend to continue the blockade put in place at midday on Tuesday near Amiens and organize new demonstrations, particularly in Aisne and Pas-de-Calais. According to the region’s prefecture, “access to the various cross-Channel platforms [Channel tunnel and port serving England] is likely to be disrupted.” The mobilization can last “a day”, “a week” or “the time it takes for the answers to be provided”, warned Mr. Rousseau on Tuesday, who met the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, and the Minister of agriculture Monday evening in Matignon.