Beaujolais fuels fire of French revolution

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The Independent Online

The French riots may have ended but a new revolution, or rather a revolution nouveau, has breached the peace in the city of Grenoble in eastern France.

More than a thousand students, who had been taking part in festivities to celebrate the arrival of this year's Beaujolais Nouveau, fought police for almost four hours in the centre of the city on Thursday night.

Bottles and stones were thrown and 30 people were treated for cuts and bruises before police cleared the streets with tear gas.

The local police chief blamed a combination of red wine and red politics. Commissioner Jean-Claude Borel-Garin said: "Some them were very politicised. Drunk on new wine, they wanted to make a revolution, a 'red Beaujolais' revolution."

Scuffling between students and police on the third Thursday in November - the night on which Beaujolais Nouveau is launched - has become a regular occurrence in Grenoble in recent years. Police said that the trouble was more serious this year because the students wanted to emulate the recent violent disturbances in French cities.

The trouble began when students, leaving bars, attacked firemen who had been called to an incident in the town centre. They then attacked police who were called to help the firemen.