THE REVOLT OF 1907
After the crisis caused by the phyloxera disease, the adulteration of wine during the sugaring process, causing the production of adulterated grape must throughout France proved very detrimental to the Occitan vine cultivators who were restricted by a mono-cultivation situation (as is the case in the third world today), and they found themselves in a dire economic straits. In the Spring of 1907 the first pacific demonstrations guided by Marcelin Albert (of Argeliers), took place in the region of Narbonne and generated scarce interest. But gradually the protest movement began to intensify until it posed a threat to the French government under Clémenceau. The protesters becoming increasingly numerous: 40,000 in Narbonne, 250,000 in Carcassonne, and, on 9th June 1907, about 800,000 in Montpellier. Another important individual arrived to back up Marcelin Albert; the mayor of Narbonne, Ernest Ferrol, of social-populist tendency.The government alarmed at these events, sent in the army to re-establish order and to quell what seemed increasingly to be the revolt of the South against the North. The heavy military presence and the arrest of Ferrol led to increasingly violent unrest: on 20th June the army opened fire on a crowd killing four people. A regiment mutinied, the country was close to civil war. Frédéric Mistral, a symbolic figure, and a awarded a Nobel prize for literature, was sent to guide the revolt but remained deaf to all appeals.
Clemenceau, together with the army, succeeded in re-gaining control of the situation and had a law passed against food product fraud, thereby finally succeeding in abating the anger of the Occitan vine cultivators.