A sheep farmer from the tiny hamlet of Montredon in the Larzac region of Southern France, Bové rose to infamy as a passionate crusader against globalization and "le mal bouffe" (the bad food).
Bové first made his anti-globalization convictions known in August of 1999 when he and a band of co-horts ripped the roof off a local McDonald's, inflicting $120,000 worth of damage. McDonald's, Bové claimed, had "provoked" him by opening an outlet in the village of Millau. Additional provocation came from the US government in the form of a %100 tariff on luxury French imports, specifically Roquefort cheese.
Our struggle is not against America, but against uncontrolled globalization. McDonald's is a symbol of industrial food production. Whether such producers are American or French, the effect is the same: the destruction of traditional farming, different cultures and ways of life." -Bové to Time magazine, December 1999
Bové's trial was held in July of 2000, a two-day event which drew massive crowds from all corners of France and other parts of the world. Extra trains were made available to those who wanted to attend, and an anti-globalisation concert was organised, which attracted over 45,000 people.
Many French citizens were swept by what was predictably dubbed "Bovémania" by some Western observers. He was likened to Joan of Arc and Gandhi, and received support from the highest echelons of the French government. President Jaucqes Chirac showed soldiarity by announcing that, in fact, he too detested McDonald's food, while Prime Minister Lionel Jospin described Bové as a "strong, vigorous personality."
While even the prosecutors at Bové's trial recommended he receive nothing worse than a slap on the wrist, the judge felt that a harsher penalty was warranted. Bové was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, but was released after only twenty days, and promptly hailed as a hero.