Breton Red Caps Inaugural Congress – Issue Demands and Threaten Radical Protests – Calls for the Formalisation of the Breton Language and Culture

The Radio France International website is reporting that “Regional Campaigners” who blocked French roads and destroyed tax collection portals last year have promised "more radical" protests if the government does not scrap its controversial ecotax and give in to other demands. It is widely recognised that the 2013 disorders, ostensibly in opposition to taxes which were viewed as unfairly impacting the Breton agricultural sector, assumed a Breton separatist dynamic.  


Photo Above From AFP - Breton Demonstrators

The 2013 protests led to a pledge by Paris of 2 Billion Euro in economic aid to Brittany.  The initiative by Paris was undertaken amid signs that growing Celtic nationalism in Brittany has amalgamated into the violent demonstrations that occurred in October against the planned tax.  In response to the unrest, which many observers saw as a sign of resurgence in Breton's Celtic identity, the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault suspended implementation of the new tax. Significantly, as reported late last year by the, the unrest has taken on disturbing signs of a mild type of guerilla warfare with increasing reports of sabotage against traffic cameras which are reported to have been "vandalised and burned".  The same report described plans that were underway to form a congress of Breton organizations to "formally take up Breton grievances."  And this is what has happened.

The RFI article reports: “ With more than 3,000 people in attendance, the first-ever conference of Brittany's Bonnets Rouges (Red Caps), who forced the government to put off but not scrap the tax by sometimes violent demonstartions, presented 11 demands to the government and, in a gesture of defiance of France's centralised administration, called on President François Hollande to come to the region to hear their grievances. The Bonnets Rouges, a movement that includes employers, farmers, fishermen and political activists, repeated their demand for the withdrawal of the ecotax and called for more decentralisation to bring decision-making to their relatively remote eastern region. They also called for official recognition of regional languages, including Breton…”

The website has a report which describes the increasingly Breton Nationalist character of the movement: " Those new eleven proposals are an extension of the four main points set by Live, Work and Decide in Brittany (the group that propelled the Bonnets Rouge last year).  This weekend's (demands) are more specific, raise the bar if compared to former demands and in fact accept some key historical Bretonist proposals: Official status for Breton language and culture."

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