FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
PARIS (Reuters) – French anti-government protesters put up a large poster of Jean-Baptiste Moreau, one of President Emmanuel Macron’s farming experts, with the word “Wanted” on it outside a local government building on Tuesday, as anger over recent trade deals escalates.
Many branch offices of Macron’s LREM party have been vandalised in the last month, with farmers in particular angry over EU trade deals with Canada and South American nations.
“Look at what has just been found on the railings of the local government building,” said Moreau, a farmer who represents LREM in the central France region of Creuse, on his Twitter page, referring to the poster of him.
Local police in Creuse said an inquiry was underway.
French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume condemned the incident. “That’s enough. Let’s stop all the hatred and stigmatisation,” he wrote on Twitter.
Anti-government protests have picked up after France’s parliament approved the “CETA” EU-Canada trade deal last month, with recent demonstrations by farmers coming on top of the ongoing “Yellow Vests” protests against Macron’s policies.
Critics say CETA will undermine EU social and environmental regulations by allowing imports of products made under conditions that would not be allowed in Europe.
French farmers are also angry over the potential hit to their livelihoods from a provisional trade deal struck in June by the EU and the Mercosur bloc of South American countries, which includes major agricultural exporters Brazil and Argentina.
More than 10 LREM offices have been targeted in the last month, including manure being dumped outside the office of Monique Iborra and fellow member of parliament Romain Grau’s office being set on fire.
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Hugh Lawson