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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 14:29 GMT
Rebel farmer loses McDonalds appeal
Jose Bove
Bove had argued he was protecting his business
French rebel farmer Jose Bove has lost his final appeal against a three-month jail term imposed for wrecking a half-built McDonalds restaurant.

Bove had taken his appeal to the highest court in the country, the Cour de Cassation.

He has not yet been taken into custody, as further legal procedures must still be completed.

The attack at the McDonalds restaurant in Millau in August 1999 was staged by Bove and his supporters to protest against US taxes on French Roquefort cheese.

Protecting business

He appealed against his conviction, saying that his actions had been "legal and necessary" in view of the 100% taxes, which the US had imposed on certain French products.

But the court ruled that the taxes did not justifiy the level of damage imposed by Bove and his supporters.

Members of Peasant Confederation
Mr Bove has attained folk hero status in France
The US tax had been imposed in response to a European battle against the use of growth hormones in US cattle herds.

Bove shot to fame as a campaigning voice for farmers as a result of the McDonalds attack and has become a major figure on the anti-globalisation scene.

He and his radical Peasants' Confederation have also attacked fields of genetically-modified crops. Last weekend Bove joined more than 60,000 protesters at the World Social Forum in Brazil.

Appeals go on

The Montpellier court which originally imposed the sentence on Mr Bove must now decide how it should be carried out.

He has already served 19 days of the McDonalds sentence and may yet escape going back to prison. The length of his sentence allows for alternative means of punishment.

Another attack earned him a separate six-month jail sentence which is also under appeal to the Cour de Cassation.

The BBC's Jon Sopel in Paris
"Bove said he doesn't feel guilty for what he did"
See also:

30 Jun 00 | Europe
Profile: France's farm crusader
22 Mar 01 | Europe
Bove loses McDonald's raid appeal
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
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