France

Anti-bullfighting activists fined by French court

Bullfight in Arles, southern France
Bullfight in Arles, southern France Wikipedia Commons

Six activists were fined on Monday for staging illegal demonstrations at bullfights in south western France in 2013.

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The activists, who were all French or Belgian, were given fines of between 1500 and 3000 euros, which Jean-Pierre Garrigues of Crac, an anti-corrida organisation, described as “quite steep.”

On 24 August 2013, eight people were injured during a day of action against bullfighting, when protestors invaded the arena in Rion in southwest France and clashed with police, causing the novillada (a bullfight with young bulls,) to be delayed.

On Monday a court in Dax in southwestern France fined four of the activists, one of whom was a member of the Bridget Bardot Foundation, 3,000 euros each.

They were found guilty of organising an illegal demonstration and impeding people’s freedom to work.

Two animal rights groups, the French group Crac and a Belgian organisation, Animaux en peril, were also ordered to pay 3000 euros fines, though the Bridget Bardot Foundation was not.

Both groups were also ordered to pay 4000 euros in damages and interest as well as the legal costs for the Rion Bullfighting Circle, the plaintiffs.

Another activist was acquitted of endangering others by trying to open the cattle truck and release the bulls into the crowd.

In a separate case, an activist was fined 3000 euros for using social networks to organise an illegal demonstration on 24 November at another bullfight in Rion, and a second was fined 1500 for encroaching on people’s liberty.

Guillaume François, the lawyer for the Rion Bullfighting Circle welcomed a judgement which he qualified as “very important because it will end the will among anti-bullfighting activists to conduct a type of guerrilla warfare, with wildcat demonstrations.”

For the anti-corrida group Crac, Jean-Pierre Garrigues lamented the wish to “break” the movement using the justice system.

He said his group intends to appeal against the sentences, as does Jean-Marc Montegnies, the president of Animaux en peril.

 

 

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