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Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Loft Story under siege
Protestors at the Loft Story set
Protestors were dispelled with tear gas last weekend
Protesters have tried to stop the filming of controversial French reality TV hit, Loft Story, in the third demo against the show in a week.

Some 50 demonstrators gathered on Saturday at the guarded compound where the contestants are living under the eye of cameras 24 hours a day.

The protest began peacefully in front of the wall separating the street and the studio, with people holding placards reading "Trash TV", "Criminal TV" and "Free the chickens at least".

One read: "With trash TV the people turn into idiots, the guinea-pigs squeal and the mafia grows richer."

M6 HQ protest on 12 May
Protesters have made their point about "trash" TV
But as police surrounded the studio activists tried to kick down the barrier in an attempt to stop the filming.

Another attack on the studio last weekend by hundreds of protesters was repelled by guards with tear gas.

Loft Story focuses on a group of contestants in their 20s who are encouraged to find a partner to win a house.

It has proved a ratings winner with seven million viewers.

Fellow contestants and viewers vote out the losers until just two remain - on Sunday, day 24, nine out of the original 11 are still in the contest.

The winning pair will have to live in the dream home for a further six months before they can claim the prize.

Earlier this week the French broadcasting watchdog ruled contestants should be liberated from round-the-clock camera surveillance.

Loft Story contestants
Contestants are encouraged to pair up
The Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) said it was clamping down on Loft Story out of respect for contestants' "human dignity".

It decided the 24-hour scrutiny of 11 men and women by 26 cameras infringes on human rights and enforced two hours of privacy a day.

A group calling themselves Activists Against Trash TV have also clashed with security guards during a raid on the set.

And a shot of two contestants cavorting naked in a swimming pool has upset commentators.

They accuse programme-makers of encouraging sexual relationships in the pursuit of winning.

See also:

15 May 01 | Entertainment
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