French Farm Leader Gets 3 Months in Jail for
Attack on McDonald's

Agence France Presse
Wednesday, September 13 10:29 PM SGT
MILLAU, France, Sept 13 (AFP) -

France's anti junk food hero gets jail term for McDonald's attack

The star of France's burgeoning protest movement against globalisation and
junk food, Jose Bove, was given a tougher than expected sentence of three
months in jail Wednesday for leading an attack on a McDonald's restaurant
in August last year.

The judge in this southern French market-town decided that the
prosecution's request at the trial earlier this year for a one month term,
plus nine months suspended, was insufficient for an act of criminal
vandalism that cost the fast-food chain an estimated 720,000 francs
(110,000 euros, 95,000 dollars).

Eight co-defendants, all members of Bove's Peasant Confederation who the
prosecutor argued had been following his instructions when they ransacked
the half-built restaurant, were given short suspended jail terms and small
fines.

After the verdict the moustachioed sheepfarmer and activist vowed to
appeal and said his fight against blind market forces would continue.

"Prison doesn't worry me. I've been there before and I'll go back if I
have to. Justice does not emerge enhanced from this judgment. They
obviously understood nothing of our movement," he said.

In an echo of the carnival-like scenes that accompanied the trial in July,
around 400 environmentalists and left-wingers gathered in Millau to
support Bove, and booed when news of the verdict was brought out.

"We are all Boves," they shouted when he emerged from the courthouse.

Bove, who is 47, was transformed into a folk hero after the attack on the
McDonald's, which he persisted in describing as a symbolic act designed to
draw attention to the injustices of the world trading system.

He has become a star of the international movement against globalisation,
appearing in protests in Washington and Seattle, and in his perfect
English articulating the interests of small producers against the
predominance of agro-industry.

The attack on McDonald's -- chosen as an emblem of American cultural and
gastronomic expansionism -- came after the United States had imposed trade
sanctions on European foodstuffs, including the Roquefort cheese that Bove
produces, in a row over beef.

Calling as witnesses a number of well-known campaigners against
globalisation, Bove argued that the act had to be seen in the context of
the worsening plight of small farmers like himself against the inroads of
big business.

But the prosecutor said that though Bove had become a media hero, the case
was a criminal matter, about vandalism to private property.

He also linked the attack to the bombing by Breton separatists of another
branch of McDonald's in May in which a woman died, arguing that Bove had
indirectly set the fast-food chain up as a legitimate target.
======================

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