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French wine activists torch supermarkets

Wine industry activists have again attacked retailers in the south of France.

Fire engines were called to several supermarkets in Herault region where fires had been set in the early hours of April 20, reports AFP.

The attacks appear to be the work of CRAV (comite regional d’action viticole), a group of wine sector protestors known for its aggressive tactics.

An electrical transformer in the parking lot of a Carrefour in Nimes was blown up, while an incendiary device blew out the windows and damaged the metal security grille of an Intermarche store in Magdalas. In Capestang, rubbish bins at Lidl were set on fire and an office was firebombed.

Nobody was hurt, but two suspects were taken into custody and questioned by the police. One is the president of the wine co-operative of L’Occitane, who was detected by radar while en route from Beziers to Agde. It is unknown whether any arrests have been made.

Separately, CRAV graffiti was found scrawled on the walls of Atac, Lidl, Aldi and other markets that were not set alight. In one case, the phrase ‘on creve’ – ‘we’re dying’ – was also found on a wall.

CRAV has been active for nearly 30 years, and has been responsible for destroying both municipal and private property – bombing grocery stores and a winery, and hijacking a tanker of Spanish wine. In 2002, members detonated explosives on the Tarascon-Carcassone train line.

The group calls for more protection of the French wine industry, including restrictive tariffs on imports, subsidies and other measures to stop the erosion of France’s share of the global wine market.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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