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Protest against new airport in France turns violent

Violence erupted after 20,000 people demonstrated against an airport project near the city of French city of Nantes, leaving six riot police officers injured.

Fire burns during the clashes at a march in Nantes Credit: Reuters

Environmental activists have been protesting for more than a year against the government's plan to build a new airport for the west of the country. Some activists have occupied the area by living rough in makeshift wooden cabins.

People gather behind banners at the start of a protest march in Nantes Credit: Reuters

Riot police used tear gas to disperse protesters who lobbed projectiles and threw paint onto Nantes' city hall, set fire to construction vehicles and vandalised the offices of Vinci, the project's contractor.

Protesters behind a barricade face off with French riot police Credit: Reuters

The 580-million-euro airport is planned to be finished in 2017.

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Ukraine opposition 'needs time to consult'

France's foreign minister has voiced caution on Friday about President Viktor Yanukovich's announcement of a deal to end the Ukrainian political crisis, saying opposition leaders needed time to consult.

"The opposition wants to consult with some of its members, which is entirely understandable," Laurent Fabius said in a live interview on Europe 1 radio.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his counterparts from Germany and Poland have been in talks with Ukraine. Credit: Reuters

"In this sort of situation, as long as things haven't really been wrapped up, it's important to remain very cautious."

Fabius left Kiev during the night for Beijing but said he had been in touch with his colleagues, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Radoslaw Sikorski, who stayed on to try to conclude the negotiations on Friday.

Alps police sketch led to arrest of 48-year-old man

by - Europe Correspondent
Police issued this sketch last year. Credit: Police

When the police issued the above photo-fit image last year, they received around 100 phone calls from the public.

A number of those phone calls led them to the 48-year-old man they now have in custody - someone who has spent 20 years as a police officer, acting more as a traffic officer than a criminal officer.

He left the police force in 2013 and has since gone on to work in the security industry in Switzerland.

A large number of guns and grenades have been seized from properties linked to the man since his arrest.

Alps police angry that image of arrested man leaked

The 48-year-old man could be involved in arms trafficking, a French prosecutor said.

In a press conference today, French police investigating the Alps murders expressed their anger that the above image of a 48-year-old man currently in custody had been leaked to the media.

He was a hunter who lived close to the scene of the crime and was known to have an interest in collecting WWII guns, the prosecutor said.

He was not abroad at the time of the killings and it would have been logistically possible, given his movements, to have been in the area when the murders were committed.

A Luger weapon found at his house was not the same as the one used to kill the al-Hilli family, the prosecutor said.

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Second arrest in Alps case 'could be arms trafficker'

A second man is in custody in connection with the Alps murders, a French prosecutor said today.

"We discovered a great number of munitions, explosives and detonators at his house," he added, saying the man may be involved in arms trafficking and was likely the business partner of a 48-year-old man arrested earlier.

He could not confirm a direct link between the arrest and the al-Hilli deaths.

Zaid al-Hilli: Alps murder arrest 'is better than nothing'

Zaid al-Hilli pictured last year. Credit: ITV News

The brother of Alps murder victim Saad al-Hilli said the arrest of a 48-year-old - believed to be a former policeman - in connection with the killing, is "better than nothing".

Last month Zaid al-Hilli, who was arrested in connection with the shooting, had his bail cancelled by Surrey Police after the force decided there was not enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

Asked on Sky News whether this arrest, if it leads to a prosecution, would bring closure to him, he replied: "Well of course, I mean, anything is better than nothing. We'll see what happens. We can't raise our hopes."

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