20 October 1999
MEPs’ beef-ban protest stops Paris

By FWi staff

CONSERVATIVE MEPs, protesting at the continuing French ban on British beef, brought Paris to a standstill this morning when they blocked the roundabout in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

The original intention had been to scale the monument and drape it with a banner saying “Let them eat cake? Let them eat British beef!”

But access was blocked by French riot police.

“After lengthy negotiation, we were allowed to walk down the Champs Élysées to the British embassy, where we met with ambassador, Sir Michael Jay,” agriculture spokesman, Robert Sturdy, told Farmers Weekly.

“We then went on to a meeting with the office of French farm minister, Jean Glavany, where we drummed home the message that British beef is safe.

“Their response was cautious, though they did say they would consider an invitation for the minister to come to the UK to look round an abattoir.”

The protest by the group of 10 MEPs attracted widespread coverage in the French national media.