• France's news in English

PM slams farmers for torching tax office

AFP · 21 Sep 2014, 10:42

Published: 21 Sep 2014 10:42 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It was "particularly shocking" that the angry protesters tried to block firefighters' access to the burning tax office, the premier said, adding that he "vigorously" condemned Friday's night of violence in the northwestern town of Morlaix.

"Legal action will be taken against the perpetrators," Valls said. "Nothing justifies the use of violent methods that don't resolve anything," he added.

A local resident who witnessed the blaze at the tax office said the farmers used their tractors to keep firefighters away from the scene.

"When the fire truck finally managed to reach the building, they dumped their artichokes to slow the men down," he said. "It was a ballet of tractors that was not spontaneous, it was well organised."

Prosecutors in Brest have opened an inquiry into the incident for damages to public property and hindering the emergency services. No arrests have been made.

Both the Morlaix tax office and the local MSA agricultural insurance building were destroyed in the flames.

"This is an action of some violence that unfortunately reflects an exasperation, a strong distress in the agricultural world today," said Xavier Beulin, head of the FNSEA farmers' federation.

The farmers, who numbered around 100, said they were protesting against heavy fiscal burdens and red tape that have led to a decline in living standards. They also voiced anger over a Russian embargo on European food imports.

Artichoke farmer Gilles Moal said the situation was so bad that he had "the impression of not having the right to a future".

Morlaix mayor Agnes Le Brun also decried the violence but she warned that tensions had been simmering for months, finally brought to boiling point because of "a combination of events: a fall in consumption, overproduction, falling prices, the Russian embargo, increasingly overwhelming payroll costs".

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available