Radical French Farmer Found Guilty of Vandalizing McDonald’s Restaurant

ByABC News
September 13, 2000, 2:37 PM

M I L L A U, France, Sept. 13 -- A French sheep farmer who became a folk hero by vandalizing a McDonalds last year was convicted todayfor the attack and sentenced to three months in prison.

Jose Bove has become an international figure since he and hiscodefendants partially dismantled a McDonalds under constructionin the southern town of Millau on Aug. 12, 1999. He insistedtoday that his conviction would not dampen his fight against rampant globalization.

The sentence exceeded what prosecutors sought against Bove, whowill likely spend two months in prison because of time alreadyserved. The court in Millau handed Boves co-defendants punishments ranging from $265 fines to two-month suspended sentences. One was acquitted.

The fight is going on, Bove said. If I have to go to jail,thats not a problem for me.

Country Fair Atmosphere

The two-day trial of Bove and his nine comrades, held thissummer, drew some 15,000 people in a country fair atmosphere, with Bove brought to the Millau courthouse in an ox cart amid cheering crowds.

But the scene at the rendering of the verdict was a sharpcontrast underscoring the legal line on just how far activistslike Bove can go in their protests against what they call theMcDomination of the world.

Police erected metal barriers around the courthouse, and therewere no large crowds. Hours ahead of the verdict, Bove, wearingjeans and sandals, milled around with friends and supporters at acafe near the courthouse. Im neither anxious nor concerned, hesaid.

Earlier in a telephone interview, Bove said the action againstMcDonalds was justified.

Whatever the judgment, we will certainly appeal, he said.

Reactions to U.S. Sanctions

The mustachioed Bove led the attack on the McDonalds to protestU.S. sanctions on European delicacies, from foie gras to Roquefort cheese some of it made from milk supplied by Boves flock. The sanctions were to punish the European Union for refusing to import American hormone-treated beef.