February 26, 2024

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France protests: Farmers block main roads around Paris due to falling income

France protests: Farmers block main roads around Paris due to falling income

Image source, Reuters/Stephanie Leacock

French farmers began moving hundreds of tractors in an attempt to block the main roads leading to the French capital, dubbed the “Siege of Paris.”

Farmers say they are hurt by falling incomes, environmental regulations, high red tape and competition from imports.

French authorities say that 15,000 police have been mobilized to prevent tractors from entering the capital and other cities.

Other protests are taking place across the country.

Hundreds of thousands of farmers moved to block major highways leading to Paris on Monday, and similar protests took place in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

One protester in Paris told the BBC: “We can't do cheap farming… We need to be able to make a living from our trade.”

While agricultural unions described the protest as a “siege of Paris,” secondary roads leading into the city remained open.

The farmers say their goal is to prevent food from reaching supermarkets, something officials have warned them not to do.

But police have also been ordered not to intervene, and so far there have been no signs of chaos.

The head of France's largest farmers' union, the National Federation of Agricultural Farmers' Unions (FNSEA), Arnaud Rousseau, said the aim was to force the government to find a quick solution to the standoff.

He also said that the protest movement would continue everywhere in France “with the very concrete goal of announcing emergency measures” – especially regarding food prices and reciprocal rules.

Last week's plan included canceling the planned increase in fuel taxes and providing additional support to farmers whose animals get sick.

The Elysee Palace also announced that French President Emmanuel Macron will meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday in Brussels to discuss the agricultural industry and EU-level support for farmers.

Image source, Reuters/Sarah Messonnier