Farmers ransack Paris ministry
Tuesday 09 February 1999
Another agricultural mob attacked the elite civil service college, the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), spreading manure and flour and hurling paving stones at the police. More than 200 farmers were arrested. Police said 15 would be kept in cells overnight and probably charged.
The demonstrators were protesting against planned cuts in guaranteed EU farm prices and against plans by the Environment Minister, Dominique Voynet, to tax agricultural pesticides and weed killers. Ms Voynet, leader of the French green party, is a hate figure in rural France because of her drive to implement EU-wide rules on the shooting of migratory birds.
She was away at the time but her office was laid waste and members of her staff were physically assaulted and abused. The French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, issued a statement last night condemning "this violence with the greatest possible firmness". He said the ringleaders would be prosecuted and called on farm unions, due to meet him today, to disassociate themselves from "such agitation".
The national leaderships of the unions immediately did so but the demonstrators claimed to be acting with the blessing of local branches of farming unions, and the young farmers' movement, in the cereal belt around Paris and in the western part of the Loire valley.
About 100 farmers burst into the environment ministry just before lunchtime, taking the few police guards at the gate by surprise. Hurling corn and flour, they charged to the fifth floorand ripped the door to the minister's office off its hinges. Staff were roughed up and insulted, and papers and chairs were thrown from the windows.
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Alex Salmond: 'The rocks would melt with the sun before I'd ever set foot in the House of Lords'
- 5 Ice Bucket Challenge: US firefighter Tony Grider dies after participating in charity craze near power lines
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...