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Farmer Who Wrecked McDonald’s Freed

August 1, 2002

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VILLENEUVE-LES-MAGUELONE, France (AP) _ Militant French farmer Jose Bove was released from prison on Thursday after serving 40 days behind bars for ransacking a McDonald’s restaurant under construction.

Smiling but visibly thinner, the anti-globalization crusader emerged from a prison in the southern French town of Villeneuve-les-Maguelon to the cheers of about 1,000 supporters.

Bove, 49, was serving out the remainder of a three-month sentence for using farm equipment to tear down a McDonald’s in the southern town of Millau three years ago as part of a protest against globalization. The protest only delayed construction of the restaurant, which is in operation.

Bove said his incarceration was tolerable but expressed sympathy for his fellow inmates.

``I’m thinking about those who are going to spend many months behind the walls of this prison,″ Bove told supporters, some with banners that read, ``Solidarity with Jose.″

He said he plans to leave in a few days for a vacation on his small sailboat with his companion, Ghislaine Ricez.

However, Bove faces other charges that could put him back behind bars.

A court in the southern town of Foix is expected to announce Sept. 16 whether Bove must return to prison for up to 14 months for his role in ripping up genetically modified crops in two separate incidents.

The mustachioed sheep farmer is the leader of a campaign against what he calls ``foul food″ _ including genetically modified crops and fast food.

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