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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 14:45 GMT
Bove loses McDonald's raid appeal
Jose Bove at Montpellier appeal court
Bove arrived at court to the cheers of supporters
A French appeals court has upheld a three-month prison sentence imposed on radical farmer Jose Bove for ransacking a McDonald's restaurant.

Bove, a 47-year-old sheep farmer, became a figurehead for anti-globalisation activists in France and abroad when he led an attack on a McDonald's restaurant under construction in Millau, southern France, in August 1999.

He was also ordered to pay a fine for briefly holding three civil servants captive during a protest in Rodez, southern France, in the same year.

Bove said he would appeal against the sentences to France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, which reviews convictions on procedural grounds.

Bastille analogy

Lawyers for Bove and other defendants in the case had argued that the action was a symbolic, nonviolent protest against multinational corporations.

Members of Peasant Confederation
Mr Bove has attained folk hero status in France
His trial in Montpellier last month turned into a giant anti-globalisation festival, with thousands of costumed supporters dancing though the town's winding streets in a parade.

Bove's defence compared the incident to the Boston Tea Party and the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.

His lawyers argued that French farmers were "taken hostage" by a US decision to slap a surtax on some European luxury products, including Roquefort cheese, a product of Bove's region.

They said the farmers' only chance to defend themselves was to take radical action against US multinationals.

GM case

The surtaxes, backed by the World Trade Organization, were a countermeasure to protest against Europe's rejection of US hormone-treated beef.

Last week a Montpellier court gave Bove a 10-month suspended sentence and put him on two years' probation for destroying 3,000 genetically modified rice plants at a research institute in June 1999.

The two others involved - both members of Mr Bove's radical Farmers' Confederation - were also given suspended sentences.

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See also:

15 Mar 01 | Europe
Bove sentenced for GM destruction
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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