The Gnome Liberation Front
Le Front pour la Libération des Nains de Jardin, or Front for the Liberation of Garden Gnomes, was formed in 1996. During its first year it claimed to have captured and released 150 Garden Gnomes back into the wild. They claimed their intention was to free Gnomes from their slavery and return their freedom and liberty. In the Spring of 1997, four men were arrested in Bethune, France, after being caught in possession of Garden Gnomes and FLNJ literature. Police recovered a further 184 Gnomes from their homes. The men were given suspended sentences.
It is not known whether the same people were responsible, but in 1998 a case of mass suicide took place at Briey in France. 11 Garden Gnomes were found hanging by their necks under a bridge. A letter was found nearby, which included this chilling message, "When you read these few words we will no longer be part of your selfish world, where we serve merely as pretty decoration."
Two years later, CNN reported that the presumed inactive Gnome Liberation Front had returned to its nefarious activities and had stolen 20 Gnomes during a night-time raid on a Paris exhibition at the Bagatelle Gardens. A note was left, "This odious exhibition must be closed immediately. Or we will strike again!"
In July 2001, 74 Garden Gnomes were found laid out in front of the cathedral in the French town of Saint-Die.
A variety of other crimes took place over the coming years as the activities spread world-wide. Groups sprung up in all sorts of countries, with one of the more active being in America. You can read more at their website: www.freethegnomes.com
In Italy, another associated group was formed in the 1990s; Movimento Autonomo per la Liberazione delle Anime da Giardino. Their website address is: web.tiscali.it/malag
Further articles appeared in the press across the globe. The Mirror provided a round-up article in 2008 after yet another incident - A 53 year old French man was arrested in Britanny on suspicion of stealing 170 Garden Gnomes.
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