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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 20:58 GMT
'McHero' cheered at anti-Davos meeting
Jose Bove and other activists at a Monsanto-owned Brazilian field
Mr Bove (right) was arrested after an anti-GMO protest
A French sheep farmer who was last year convicted of vandalising a McDonald's hamburger restaurant in France has been hailed as a hero by an anti-globalisation meeting in Brazil.

The farmer, Jose Bove, who has become a folk hero in France for his crusade against globalisation, had been threatened with deportation after he was detained by federal police on Monday night.

I am surprised that Brazil took this decision [to deport me]. I don't have anything to hide and I won't run from my obligations

Jose Bove
But a court on Tuesday granted Mr Bove an extension that allows him to stay until Wednesday, as he had originally planned.

Mr Bove has been accused of destroying fields of genetically-modified crops during a protest against multi-national food companies.

On Monday, he was given 24 hours to leave Brazil after he joined an invasion of land belonging to the biotechnology company, Monsanto.

Several hundred farmers, led by Mr Bove and Brazil's Landless Workers Movement, had ravaged the Monsanto fields, uprooting genetically-modified corn and soybean plants.

Transgenic crops and seeds are illegal in Brazil but Monsanto says the fields have government approval.

'Anti-Davos' forum

The French activist went to Brazil to attend the first World Social Forum, a gathering of anti-globalisation campaigners.

McDonald's take-away
McDonald's was subjected to Mr Bove's anger
The forum was conceived as an alternative to the annual gathering of the world's political and business elite in Davos, Switzerland.

Mr Bove was released after signing a document obliging him to leave Brazil. But the Landless Workers' Movement appealed on his behalf.

Modern-day Asterix

Mr Bove has been compared to the French cartoon character Asterix, who fights against the legions of the Roman Empire.

Members of Peasant Confederation
Mr Bove has become a folk hero in France
He was sentenced to three months in prison for his attack on a McDonald's restaurant in August 1999.

He and nine other members of his farmers' union, Peasant Confederation, had been accused of attacking the half-built restaurant in the town of Millau, which lies in a region famous for its pungent Roquefort cheese.

The French activist also became the figurehead of a protest movement in Seattle in 1999, when he had participated alongside thousands of Americans in demonstrations outside a World Trade Organisation meeting.

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See also:

13 Sep 00 | Europe
France's farm crusader jailed
30 Jun 00 | Europe
Massive demo at Big Mac trial
26 Sep 00 | South Asia
Farmers rally against GM crops
16 Sep 99 | Europe
Chirac slams US food domination
30 Nov 99 | Americas
Protests overshadow WTO talks
30 Jun 00 | Europe
Profile: France's farm crusader
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