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The BBC's James Coomarasamy in Montpellier
"The loudest response was for Jose Bove, the pipe-smoking peasant leader"
 real 28k

The BBC's James Coomerasamy
"Bove has always denied harbouring wider political ambitions"
 real 28k

Thursday, 15 February, 2001, 17:12 GMT
Bove appeals over McDonalds rampage
Jose Bove at Montpellier appeal court
Bove arrived at court to the cheers of supporters
Anti-globalisation campaigner Jose Bove has been back before a French court, to appeal against a jail sentence he received for ransacking a McDonalds restaurant in the town of Millau.

The court in Montpellier is also hearing the appeals of nine other members of his Peasants' Confederation, who were sentenced over the same incident.


I believe that the French people have already made a decision about this case - they are with us in this fight against junk food and against globalisation

Jose Bove
The Millau 10, as they are known in France, arrived in court to the cheers of hundreds of waiting supporters.

The men's trial last year turned into an anti-globalisation carnival, with tens of thousands of people turning out to support Mr Bove and his tactics.

At the appeal hearing, the 10 men are arguing that they destroyed the restaurant because it was the only way of protesting against US trade restrictions on their local Roquefort cheese.

The proceedings have also turned into a debate on the role of the World Trade Organisation, says the BBC's James Coomarasamy in Montpellier.

Members of Peasant Confederation
Mr Bove has attained folk hero status in France
Mr Bove told French radio before the hearing began that the Montpellier appeal court would be making its decision "on behalf of the French people".

"There are times when it is better to be in prison for something right and legitimate than to be outside and to say: I didn't do anything to change things," he told France Info radio.

"I believe that the French people have already made a decision about this case. They are with us in this fight against junk food and against globalisation.

"The problem is that we are in a society which won't budge and in which there is no other way of making yourself heard than by taking action."

Brazil foray

Mr Bove has become a figurehead for anti-globalisation protesters, but has also campaigned vigorously against genetically modified crops.

His most recent foray saw him leading Brazilian farmers on a mission to destroy trial fields of GM crops.

At the court in Montpellier, Mr Bove is appealing against two separate sentences.

The main one is the three-month term handed down for his role in the McDonalds restaurant attack, when up to 300 protesters stormed through the building site.

Rice attack

Mr Bove is also appealing against a judgment in a lesser-known case of taking three civil servants prisoner during a protest against the EU's common agriculture policy.

It is the second time he has been in court in less than a fortnight.

Last week, prosecutors recommended he receive a three-month prison sentence for destroying a field of genetically modified rice in 1999.

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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
30 Nov 99 | Americas
Protests overshadow WTO talks
30 Jun 00 | Europe
Profile: France's farm crusader
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