13 April 1998
French cauliflower farmers hit the roads
Angry French cauliflower farmers demanding increases in state subsidies caused damage estimated at millions of francs and brought traffic to a standstill in northern France, leaving thousands of Easter holidaymakers stranded in France.
The Breton farmers are demanding state aid to offset losses caused by falling cauliflower prices. They stood in front of trains and set fire to stations, safety signals and rail beds, buckling rails and paralysing scores of trains. The regions main railway line between Paris and Brest was partially closed.
They also seized control of a motorway toll booth at la Gravelle and let motorists pass for free for two hours before bringing all traffic to a halt by spilling 20 tonnes of cauliflowers on the road.
Louse Le Pensec, the Agriculture Minister, said that new subsidies had already brought the total French and European aid for vegetable growers to record levels. The farmers intend to continue their campaign.
SNCF, Frances state railway, plans to take the main farmers union to court following weekend demonstrations.