French riot police fired gas grenades into a crowd of forty thousand protestors in Paris, Saturday (2nd December).
GV crowds in street as demonstrators carry banners reading 'friends of Larzac'(THREE SHOTS)
SV demonstrators marching along road (TWO SHOTS)
SV crowd carrying large banners (TWO SHOTS)
SV band playing amongst crowd as they walk along road (TWO SHOTS)
SV PAN FROM police TO demonstrators marching past
CU woman wearing banner and gag in mouth
GV crowds carrying banners
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Background: French riot police fired gas grenades into a crowd of forty thousand protestors in Paris, Saturday (2nd December). Farmers, ecologists and students protesting against a planned Defence Ministry takeover of the Larzac Plateau in Southern France choked and wept as the tear gas spread through the crowd.
SYNOPSIS: The Larzac controversy has been argued for more than a decade in France. The Defence Ministry plans to expand the Larzac Plateau army camp to five times its present size. Local residents say that expansion would ruin more than one hundred prosperous sheep farms.
Saturday's demonstration was led by twenty-two farmers from the Larzac region who had marched the seven hundred kilometres (435 miles) to the capital, collecting scores of supporters on the way. The farmers are resisting the compulsory acquisition of their land by the government. Pamphlets handed out by the demonstrators claimed that the government has taken new measures which would allow it to expel the farmers overnight from their land.
The march in the outer streets of Paris was mainly peaceful. Police had banned the marchers from the centre of the city.
Police kept a careful watch on the demonstrators. At times during the march, anarchists had thrown stones and some incendiary devices at the police.
Some demonstrators wearing gags had come prepared for tear gas fire from the police. The Larzac farmers and supporters say they will continue to demonstrate.