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Greenpeace protest at Louvre targets French airport project
A banner set on the Louvre pyramid by activists of environmental NGO Greenpeace reading "Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport : it belongs to a museum", to protest against an international airport project near Nantes. AFP PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON.
PARIS (AFP).- Greenpeace activists covered one side of the Louvre's iconic glass pyramid with a large banner on Thursday to denounce a new French airport project on protected swampland which they said should be a "museum relic".

The planned airport north of Nantes, scheduled to replace its current airport in 2017, is a pet project of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The Greens and other politicians have denounced the plan for environmental reasons. But Ayrault, who was the western city's mayor from 1989 until this year, says it will spell economic regeneration for the region.

"The Notre-Dame des Landes airport's rightful place is in a museum," said the triangular banner, which covered one face of the pyramid on the courtyard of the world's most famous museum.

"For us, the project is one that comes from the past," said Greenpeace activist Sebastien Blavier.

"It's a useless project, the heritage of a vision for development dating back to the 20th century."

Police bundled the dozen-odd Greenpeace protesters but the banner remained in place.

The 580-million-euro ($747-million) project was approved in 2008, with construction expected to start in 2014.

The airport is set to have an initial annual capacity of four million passengers, and supporters say it will provide a major boost to tourism in western France.

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