More than a thousand Champagne grape growers this week joined with farmers for street protests against execssive tax that led to activists bricking up the entrance to a local government headquarters.

Image: France Bleu

Farmers’ unions across France had called for a day of protest on Wednsday (5 November) against excessive taxes and regulation in the agriculture sector.

French news agency Agence France Presse estimated that 1,500 grape growers took part in protests centred on Chalons-en-Champagne, with hundreds more farmers joining them – many on tractors.

Around 3,000 farmers and wine growers were expected at the protest, with 500 tractors, local agriculture union FDSEA said just before the march.

It published a schedule for the protest that allocated a three-hour slot between 2pm and 5pm for activists to brick-up the entrance to the prefecture building in Chalons, which houses the area’s government.

Images released by radio station France Bleu, which was at the scene, showed that protesters stuck to the plan. They hauled breeze blocks into town and duly built a makeshift wall in front of the door, even as union leaders prepared to meet the head of the local authority for talks.

Written by Chris Mercer