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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Protesters disrupt Cannes festival
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff in Cannes

Michael Moore
Moore addressed protestors at their march

French protesters briefly brought the fourth day of the Cannes film festival to a halt on Saturday with a loud march in front of the red carpet.

The demonstration by about 500 entertainment industry workers over government cuts to their unemployment benefits paralysed the seafront area of the Riviera town for about two hours.

Although the day's main competition film, Shrek 2, went on without a problem, several other screenings were interrupted or cancelled.

In one case, a dozen workers who had pushed their way into a theatre were forcibly removed by police, resulting in three people being slightly injured, according to unions and officers.

Riot police closed off all the streets around the building hosting most of the sprawling festival, causing major traffic jams.

Police said five people were taken into custody.

Earlier, documentary film maker Michael Moore had addressed the protestors.

'Support'

He said: "I'm here to support workers in France, the United States and all around the world."

Later, Moore revealed he had smuggled three camera crews into Iraq to film disillusioned US soldiers for his new documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11.

Moore's film will have its world premiere on Monday.

He was speaking for the first time since his public row with Disney, who had refused to distribute the film in the US because of its anti-Bush message.

Fahrenheit 9/11 looks at life in the US in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks and the onset of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Moore sent the crews into Iraq after disaffected soldiers wrote to him, he said.

"I was able to sneak three different freelance crews into Iraq," he said.

The soldiers had "express disillusionment that they had been lied to", said Moore.

'Political reasons'

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein is co-founder of Miramax films
The film from Iraq was a "very important" part of the documentary, he added.

"It is certainly something the Bush administration does not want people to see," said Moore.

Moore made Fahrenheit 9/11 for Miramax, which is owned by Disney.

He said Disney had backed out of distributing the film for "only political reasons".

He said that the US and Taiwan were the only two world markets yet to find a distributor.

Other US distributors were "afraid" because pressure had been put on them, he claimed.

He refused to explain further but said he would speak more about Disney once the film had found a US distributor.

Moore also bemoaned the lack of freedom of expression in the US and said the art of documentary film making was under threat.

"The movie press has an obsession with celebrity... and is driving the nail into the coffin," he said.




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