José and friends in French legal farce

I spent an eye-opening day in court the other day at the trial of five rebel reapers charged with hindering Monsanto employees from going about their work of spreading GMOs across France from their base in the southwest French town of Trèbes.

Presidential candidate José Bové, Michel David et Olivier Keller of the French small farmers’ union Confédération Paysanne, Arnaud Apoteker of Greenpeace, and Jean-Baptiste Libouban, founder of the rebel reaper group “faucheurs volontaires”, were accused of the offence in relation to an action they undertook on April 13th in 2006.

Bové’s lawyer François Roux came out firing at the trial in Carcassonne, accusing police of having made up their evidence, a charge the presiding judge will rule on on March 21. Among the contested elements was the little matter of the police assertion that there had been eight vehicles owned by Bové at a car park near the Monsanto site on the day, when more than half of those listed had been scrapped years ago.

This film, in French, wraps up the events of the day. In due course, I hope to write in more detail about the mechanics of reporting as an independent journalist as opposed to covering the news for an organisation such as Reuters, my former employers. Practical stuff about how much it cost, the time it took and the value of still having a UK press card to hand.

I worked with Corentin Charpentier, who did the filming and who is a member of the alternative TV association Tv Bruits in Toulouse.


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