July 29, 2019 / 1:35 PM / 20 days ago

Farmers protesting at trade deal vandalize office of Macron party lawmaker

PARIS (Reuters) - Farmers protesting at a trade deal with Canada vandalized the office of a lawmaker from Emmanuel Macron’s LREM party on Monday in the latest example of demonstrators targeting LREM premises due to discontent over the French president’s policies.

The farmers claimed responsibility on their Facebook page on Monday for the attack on Carole Bureau-Bonnard’s office in Noyon, just north of Paris.

“My office has been vandalized. I will never accept these acts of violence which go against democracy,” Bureau-Bonnard said on Twitter, showing images of graffiti and piles of straw.

The incident came two days after the office of Romain Grau, an LREM member of parliament for Perpignan in southern France, was set on fire during the latest “Yellow Vest” protests.

Anti-government protests have picked up after the French parliament this month approved the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA), which opponents said undermined the EU’s social and ecological regulations by importing products made under conditions that would not be allowed in Europe.

The French government says the deal is beneficial for the country.

“The CETA vote goes against what the general population wants,” said a farmer who took part in the damage to Bureau-Bonnard’s office.

She identified herself only as “Aurelie” when contacted by telephone, saying she did not want to give her surname, and added her group had targeted Bureau-Bonnard’s office at 6 a.m.

The local police force could not be immediately reached for comment.

In January, the then-government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux had to escape his office after protesters broke into the compound and smashed up vehicles during the broader “Yellow Vest” protest movement.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Alison Williams

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