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That Time the French Intentionally Bombed a Civilian Ship

That Time the French Intentionally Bombed a Civilian Ship

By Gilles Messier

In 1972, founding member David McTaggart answered a call by the organization for private vessels to sail to Moruroa to interfere with the French nuclear tests. On August 8, while the Rainbow Warrior was open for public viewing, Mafart and Prieur, still posing as tourists, toured the ship to conduct last-minute reconnaissance. Ironically, far from preventing further protests, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior galvanized world opinion against French nuclear testing. In June 1995 Rainbow Warrior II lead another protest flotilla to Moruroa, which resulted in French Marines storming the ship with tear gas and smashing its radio. But as promised, on January 27, 1996 the last French nuclear weapon, codenamed Xouthos, was detonated beneath Moruora.