French boycott campaign stepped up

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An anonymous group of anti-nuclear protesters yesterday launched a campaign to support a boycott of French produce because of the decision by France to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific.

An open letter occupied a full page of the London Evening Standard calling for shoppers to "look at the label before you buy - if it says Made in France, put it back on the shelf and tell your retailer why". "We want to send a message to Jacques Chirac and the French government that we believe it is a crime to poison and contaminate the ocean, sea-life, vegetation and people of the Pacific," it said.

Supermarkets said they were not concerned about the ban unless it made a dent in sales.

Sainsbury's said, although France was one of the company's major foreign suppliers, it would not be taking action.

"Boycotts are not unknown and we are not worried at the moment," a spokeswoman said. "We don't make moral decisions on what our customers should or should not buy."

The French Embassy refused to comment last night on the boycott call.

One vigorous backer of the campaign is the Hampstead Theatre in north- west London, no stranger to political protests having banned South African goods more than 20 years ago.