PM calls for French farmers to be prosecuted for fire protest
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for farmers who set fire to public buildings and piles of vegetables in the Breton town of Morlaix on Friday night to be prosecuted for their protests over red tape and a drop in vegetable prices.
Some 100 protesters arrived on tractors to ransack and set fire to the MSA agricultural mutual insurance building before going on to burn the local tax office, said Jean-Luc Videlaine, prefect of the Finistère region of Brittany, in comments to Reuters.
The farmers then headed to the town’s viaduct, where they set fire to a pile of artichokes, broccoli and potatoes. They dispersed around midnight (GMT).
“It is particularly shocking that the fire service was prevented from doing its job,” Valls said in a statement on Saturday. “Legal proceedings will be carried out against the perpetrators of these acts.”
Angry farmers had carried out protests earlier this week, dumping vegetables that they were unable to sell at an acceptable price onto several main roads.
Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll also condemned the violence in a separate statement, adding that two meetings were planned with agricultural representatives in the coming week.
“Nothing can justify these acts of violence,” Le Foll said, calling on all parties to calm down and act responsibly so they can “find solutions to manage this crisis”.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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