Anti-Globalization Woodstock in Southern France
Here's a story from The Age, an Australian newspapger, one that's not
likely to make the major news outlets.
Of special note here is the presence of Manu Chao, a fascinating
French/Spanish/world singer with strong commitments and
a very lively, politically aware sense of humor.
100,000 protest globalisation
August 10, 2003 - 11:55AM
Some 100,000 people attended an "anti-globalisation Woodstock" in southern France overnight, with controversial eco-warrior Jose Bove leading the mass opposition to crucial World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Mexico next month.
Earlier in the day the crowds were even bigger, up to 150,000 according to officials or 200,000 according to organisers at the start of the three-day rally.
Bove, fresh out of jail for uprooting genetically modified crops, and still serving time doing community service, spearheaded the rally, declaring that the month of September will "not be hot, it will burn".
He was referring to the WTO talks scheduled for next month in Cancun, Mexico.
Organisers from a coalition of anti-globalisation groups said their aim was to draw attention to the dangers to democracy posed by the WTO, trade liberalisation and multinational corporations.
The three-day Larzac 2003 festival included speeches, debates, street theatre and film shows, as well as a rock concert featuring French singer Manu Chao and British group Asian Dub Foundation.
For 30 years the stunning Larzac plateau has been an emblematic location for the French left, after veterans of the 1968 student movement successfully joined forces with local farmers to resist government attempts to turn it into an army shooting range. Bove himself works as a sheep farmer on the plateau.
In June 2000, around 50,000 activists camped near Millau for a rally that coincided with the trial of Bove and nine others for vandalising a McDonald's restaurant.
Bove eventually served six weeks in jail in 2002 for that offence, and in June this year returned to prison for uprooting genetically modified crops. He was freed last month on condition that he would participate in community service.
Manu Chao took the stage at the event dubbed the "anti-globalisation Woodstock" at 1am today (9am AEST) after several earlier acts interspersed with rallying speeches.
"We are sure that today is a great day for the social movement because despite our differences, we have found the common viewpoints," said farmers' confederation official Nicolas Duntze. "Farmers have learned to understand the youths in the suburbs and entertainment industry workers have understood the farmer," he added.