March 3, 2024

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Protesting farmers increase pressure on the French government

Protesting farmers increase pressure on the French government

Gosigny, France (AFP) – Protesting farmers Paris was cordoned off with traffic barriers on Monday, using hundreds of heavy tractors and bales of hay to block highways leading to the French capital to pressure the government over the future of its industry, which has been rocked by the repercussions of the Corona virus. Ukraine war.

Blockade of the main roads around Paris. Hosting the Summer Olympics in six months – Protests elsewhere in France promised another difficult week New Prime Minister Gabriel Attalless than a month on the job.

The demonstrators said that Attal's attempts last week took pro-agriculture measures He did not meet their demands That food production should be more profitable, easier and fairer.

Farmers responded by deploying convoys of tractors, trailers and even harvesters on Monday in what they described as a “siege” of Paris to gain more concessions. Some protesters came with reserves of food, water and tents to stay at the barricades if the government did not cede land.

“We have come to defend French agriculture,” said Christophe Rossignol, a 52-year-old farmer who works with organic orchards and other crops. Tractors and bales of hay were parked at the barricade east of Paris, forming what looked like an ear of wheat when seen from the air.

“We move from one crisis to another,” Rossignol said. Some of the vehicles carried banners reading: “No food without farmers” and “Our end will mean famine for you.”

The barricades highlighted the gaps in economic and social opportunities between city and countryside in France. The demonstrators said they felt ignored by government ministers who accused them of rarely going to farms and dirtying their shoes.

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The government announced the deployment of 15,000 police, most of them in the Paris region, to stop any attempt by protesters to enter the capital. Officers and armored vehicles were also stationed at Rungis Market, the center of fresh food supplies in Paris.

Traffic authorities in the Paris region reported blockages on the A1 motorway north of the city's main international airport, on the A4 motorway near the Disneyland theme park east of the capital and on other normally busy highways.

“Our goal is not to disturb or destroy the lives of the French people,” Arnaud Rousseau, head of the influential FNSEA agricultural union, told RTL radio. Our goal is to put pressure on the government to find quick solutions to get out of the crisis.”

The movement in France is another manifestation Global food crisis The crisis has been exacerbated by the large-scale war that Russia has been waging for nearly two years in Ukraine, a major food producer.

French farmers assert that rising prices for fertilisers, energy and other inputs needed to grow crops and feed livestock have eroded their income.

Protesters also say France's widely subsidized agricultural sector is over-regulated and hurt by food imports from countries where agricultural producers face lower costs and fewer restrictions. Rousseau used Ukrainian sugar producers as an example, saying their soaring exports to Europe since the Russian invasion in February 2022 were “untenable” relative to their European counterparts.

Taxi drivers with other grievances also held slow-motion protests on Monday, adding to the traffic chaos in the Paris region and other parts of the country. The authorities recommended that road users switch to public transportation if possible.

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Leicester reported from Le Becq, France.