France: The Pitchfork Maquis

Early one morning last week, 6,000 Breton farmers descended on the little town of Pontivy. They blocked the highways, then rode some 1,000 tractors into town in a wild, angry snake dance. They closed in on the local administrative building, painted its gates with manure. When the police arrived, the farmers pelted them with rotten eggs. It took reinforcements of riot police using tear gas and a helicopter to disperse the angry mob.

Similar farmers' revolts have erupted all over Brittany in the last three weeks. Using tactics remembered from the wartime Maquis days, farmers immobilized some dozen towns for...

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