French Farmers are at it again. Only bettered in the violent protest stakes by South African Students and Turkish Taxi drivers (I just made that last one up for alliterative purposes really), they’re not happy about the alleged “unfair competition” from their Spanish counterparts over the Pyrenees.
And they are protesting by hijacking tankers full of imported Spanish vino, before doing… well, before doing this:
Sensitive viewers may want to look away now.
Ninety Thousand Bottles Full…. Ninety Thousand! That would have made for an awesome weekend…
Sweet jesus – will somebody please think of the children?
They’re annoyed that the regulations governing the Spanish winemakers from just over the border apparently aren’t as strict as those imposed on the local Frenchies.
“If a French wine maker produced wine with Spanish rules, he simply wouldn’t be able to sell it,” said Frédéric Rouanet, the president of the Aude winemakers’ union. “Europe’s all very well, but with the same rules for all.”
Sounds very much like the Namibian Sand Protests of 1997.
And the governments in question had better watch out, because first off, there’s history here:
Wine makers in southwestern France are notoriously hot-blooded and even have a shadowy “armed wing” called le Crav – the Comité Régional d’Action Viticole – that has conducted various commando operations over the years [including terrifyingly recently], even laying explosives at “enemy” wine distributors it feels are not supporting local produce.
Outrage over such fraud led to the region’s first and most deadly wine riots in 1907, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Narbonne, and six people were killed when the army opened fire on the protesters.
And second off, this is just the start of their planned action:
Rouanet said the tanker hijack was “just the beginning” unless their demands were met, threatening action in the nearby port of Sète against the import of Italian wines.
“We will continue until we’ve proved that the illegal traffic of wine is going on. We are going to protect our consumers. You can trace our wine from the vineyards to the bottle and those same rules should apply to all.”
Because Italian winemakers are seemingly up to the same sort of dirty tricks as their Iberian counterparts.
And, while the French guys’ actions may be horribly depressing to watch, if what he says is true, then you can kind of understand the anger and frustration.
Still though… No. Just no. There must be some other way.