Feb. 03 - A group of French farmers dumped tonnes of earth and straw on a Paris street in protest over what they see as excessive regulation in their industry. Hayley Platt reports.
French farmers stage a surprise early morning protest outside the Environment Ministry in Paris. Angry over environmental legislation they say puts them at a competitive disadvantage, they voice their dissent with mud and straw. (SOUNDBITE) (French) GREGOIRE DE MEAUX PRESIDENT OF WESTERN FRANCE YOUNG FARMERS' UNION SAYING: "Compared to other countries, France is the only country in Europe to have so many agro-environmental regulations. For us, we feel that these measures are punitive and excessive. We're in the same race as other European countries, but we've running with a ball and chain round our legs." As morning breaks, police move in to clear the road for the work day rush. As the street is cleared, misgivings linger. This has been a long running row, with France campaigning for tighter limits on food commodities for some time. It says reforms are needed to control high food prices and shield consumers from price volatility, especially those in developing economies. But French farmers complain the measures are excessive, making them less competitive against their European counterparts. Hayley Platt, Reuters.