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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 June, 2003, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Bove jailed in dawn 'commando' raid
Jose Bove
Bove is famous for his activism, as well as his moustache and pipe
French anti-globalisation activist Jose Bove has been arrested to serve 10 month in jail for destroying genetically-modified crops.

Eighty police officers backed up by a surveillance helicopter picked him up at his farm during an dawn raid on his farm in southern France.

A sheep-farmer, Bove has become a prominent critic of trade liberalisation and mass-produced food.

Last year he served a jail term for attacking a McDonalds restaurant in his home town of Millau.

He is now due to serve two separate prison terms in connection with the destruction of genetically-modified crops of maize and rice in the late 1990s.

Bove had sought to have the sentences overturned, but the appeal was turned down in February.

National hero

His lawyer complained that police took him from his home in what amounted to a commando operation - involving a helicopter, police dogs and policemen who rammed his front door.

Bove in a Brazilian GM crop field 2002
Bove says GM crops are an environmental hazard
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says that to many in France and elsewhere, Bove is not a criminal but a hero.

The French have nicknamed him Asterix, both for his moustachioed resemblance to the cartoon character and his determination to repel what he sees as foreign invaders - be it in the form of McDonalds or GM crops.

Bove leads a militant group of farmers called the Confederation Paysanne, which champions smaller producers against big business.

Their targets have included sites where experimental GM crops are grown - there are 100 such government-approved sites in France.

Profile: France's farm crusader
30 Jun 00  |  Europe

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