Tuesday, July 15, 2003

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The Jose Bove follies

Back in November, I blogged about idiotarian José Bové being arrested for trying to destroy some genetically modified crop fields in France. Here's an update:

After being tried and convicted, Bové resisted government efforts to negotiate an appropriate sentencing -- such as community service. So, in late June, French police officers forcible entered Bové's home in what the BBC calls "a dawn commando-style operation" to serve a ten-month jail sentence.

Naturally this prompted protests in France -- calling for French President Jacques Chirac to commute his sentence on Bastille Day. Chirac did shorten Bové's sentence by four months -- but this failed to mollify Bové's supporters in the Confederation Paysanne, the militant union Bové heads.

So, they decided to sabotage the Tour de France, according to Reuters :

Demonstrators supporting jailed farmers' union leader Jose Bove stopped Tour de France leader Lance Armstrong in his tracks during the 136.4-mile 10th stage to Marseille on Tuesday.

The small group of protestors sat down in the middle of the road as the peloton approached, some 43 miles from the finish in Marseille.

Police moved in quickly to drag them out of the way and the bunch continued after a delay of two minutes.

An escape group of nine lowly placed riders had already built up a lead of around 20 minutes.

The BBC observes that this could trigger a backlash:

[C]orrespondents say the Tour de France protest may lose him public support because of the cost of precious time and points to riders in France's premier sporting event.

There's nothing left to say, except that:

a) This confirms my hunch that French farmers may be the world's exemplar iditotarians; and
b) Peloton is just a really cool word.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links to a delicious irony unearthed by Merde in France -- MacDonald's nonprofit arm contributed to the renovations of the prison where Bové is currently incarcerated.

posted by Dan on 07.15.03 at 03:28 PM