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Francois Hollande

French farmers protest taps into freewheeling tradition

Over the past week, French farmers have used tractors to block the border with Germany and chucked foreign vegetables off trucks in protest of cheap imports. French leaders did not call in the police — they gave the farmers their support. France's permissive attitude toward protest has cultural roots that run even deeper when it comes to the people who work the land. The actions of French farmers in this summer of discontent has included hijacking toll booths, setting up "customs" roadblocks to search trucks carrying German meat and throwing produce from abroad off trailers heading to French supermarkets. They are protesting increasingly slim margins they blame on...

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