Bird activists ruffle Frenchman's feathers

2015-11-09 21:20
The owner  of a plot where bird traps were found during an action against finch poaching in south western France. (Gaizka Iroz, AFP)

The owner of a plot where bird traps were found during an action against finch poaching in south western France. (Gaizka Iroz, AFP)

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Audon - A Frenchman became an online sensation on Monday after being pictured storming out of his house in his underwear brandishing a spade to chase away bird conservationists.

It began when a few members from the League of Bird Protection (LPO), accompanied by journalists, sneaked into a cornfield in the village of Audon in southwestern France early on Monday morning.

Their mission was to destroy traps laid to catch finches, which are hunted despite the songbirds being a protected species.

However, the bird enthusiasts were soon interrupted by a local man who flew at them with a spade, dressed only in a blue shirt and his underpants.

"When we wanted to free the finches, people came at us with violence, we were hit three or four times with a spade," said LPO president Allain Bougrain-Dubourg.

A second resident emerged with what appeared to be a hoe, threatening the conservationists and journalists. The angry locals also punctured the wheels of several cars belonging to the reporters and activists.

The clash lasted about 15 minutes before police arrived.

Twitter users quickly dubbed the event #SlipGate (French for "#UnderwearGate") and super-imposed the picture of the angry spade-wielding man over several famous images.

Among the mocked-up pictures were the man brandishing his spade in front of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Others replaced the spade with a selfie-stick in front of the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, an oar on the canals of Venice, and a light sabre.


Read more on:    twitter  |  france  |  social networking  |  birds

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