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Militant winemakers suspected in telephone sabotage

Vandals who set fire to telephone exchanges in southern France over the weekend appear to have claimed allegiance to the militant winemaker group known as CRAV.

Image: Livebox News

The initials of the Comite Regionale d’Action Viticole were daubed on walls at the damaged exchanges in Villemur and Bessières, according to local reports – a key calling card of the CRAV.

Households in the northern part of Haute-Garonne saw their phones and internet cut off by the fires, local authorities said, calling the incident an ‘act of vandalism’.

The fires are believed to have been started at 4pm on Sunday 16 March.

The CRAV has existed in Languedoc Roussillon since the 1960s and has its roots in mass uprisings across the region in 1907, predominantly against ‘adulterated’ cheap wine imported to France from North Africa.

It has intermittently protested against a lack of financial support for winemakers by attacking local infrastructure and wineries believed to be holding foreign wine.

In 2007, balaclava-clad figures claiming affiliation to CRAV were filmed in the Languedoc hinterland threatening then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy. A CRAV spokesperson later described that as a mistake.

Written by Chris Mercer

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