3 hours ago
Image source: Portal/Stephanie Lecocq
French farmers have begun moving hundreds of tractors to block key routes into the French capital, in what has been dubbed the “siege of Paris.”
Farmers argue that they are suffering from falling incomes, environmental regulations, increasing red tape and competition from imports.
According to French authorities, 15,000 police officers have been mobilized to stop tractors from entering the capital and other cities.
More protests are taking place across the country.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers blocked major highways to Paris on Monday, while similar protests took place in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
“We can't do cheap farming… we have to be able to live off our trade,” a protester in Paris told the BBC.
While farmer unions described the protest as a “siege of Paris,” side roads into the city remained open.
Farmers say their aim is to stop food deliveries to supermarkets – which authorities have warned them about.
But the police were also ordered not to intervene and so far there have been no signs of unrest.
The head of France's largest farmers' association, the National Federation of Agricultural Holders' Unions (FNSEA), Arnaud Rousseau, said the aim was to force the government to find a quick solution to the stalemate.
He also said the protest movement would continue across France “with the very specific aim of announcing emergency measures” – particularly on food prices and reciprocity in rules.
In response to the blockades, French government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot said new measures would be announced on Tuesday in addition to those announced last week.
Last week, among other things, the planned increase in fuel taxes and additional support for farmers whose animals fall ill were scrapped.
The Elysée Palace also announced that French President Emmanuel Macron will meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the agricultural industry and EU-wide support for farmers.
Image source: Portal/Sarah Meyssonnier