Campaign urges boycott of French wine

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The Independent Online
GLENDA COOPER

Consumers are being urged to use their spending power to "drop a bomb on Chirac's plans" for nuclear testing in the South Pacific by boycotting French wine.

Medact, a voluntary association of doctors formed in 1992 to campaign for the abolition of nuclear testing , and the British Nuclear Test Ban Coalition launched a"Say Non" campaign yesterday with a hard-hitting advertisement, which it hopes will play in independent cinemas around the country.

When a similar boycott was in force in Sweden in July, consumption of French wine went down by 25 per cent, the International Peace Bureau said.

The advert, made free by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, an advertising agency , shows a lookalike of the French president, Jacques Chirac, enjoying a glass of red wine in a cafe, seen through the sights of a gun - a replica of one in the film The Day of the Jackal.

The marksman takes aim and shatters the bottle of wine which smears like blood over the table and Mr Chirac's lookalike. The final still says "Drop a bomb on Chirac's plans. Boycott French wine."

"This new commercial is symbolic of how strongly people feel about nuclear weapons testing. Our message is to stop the nuclear arms race now," said Dr Elizabeth McElderry, vice-chairperson of Medact.

Frank Blackaby, president of the British Nuclear Test Ban Coalition, added: "In its planned resumption of testing, France is sending a signal that it will be adopting a more robust foreign policy. We and others who refuse to buy French wine are sending a counter- signal, indicating our conviction that the time for testing such weapons is over."

France has carried out underground tests in atolls in French Polynesia since 1974. Medact has been calling for the release of data on health and the environment from past tests.

Protests are being made around the world. In Australia, members of the Postal Workers Union are refusing to deliver post to the French Embassy and the Waterside Workers Union is refusing to unload French goods. An Austrian newspaper, the Kronenzeitung, has collected 700,000 signatures on a petition protesting at the tests.

In Britain, LSWR, a London travel agency, is refusing to sell Air France tickets, and the Pierre Victoire restaurant chain has collected thousands of signatures from customers who oppose what France is doing. In London, weekly protest vigils are being held outside the French Embassy.

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