French farmers call for blockade of Paris from Monday

French farmers call for blockade of Paris from Monday

Two major unions in the French agricultural sector announced a “siege of the capital” starting Monday, January 29, to denounce their difficult economic situation. This action will come after more than a week of protests by agricultural producers across the country, despite the government's concessions on Friday 26. For their part, the French authorities envisage a strong means to prevent farmers from blocking Paris.

First change: January 28, 2024 – 5:29 p.m

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French farmers have vowed to continue protesting and setting up barricades on some of the country's main roads. The government announced a series of measures on Friday, January 26, but farmers say they are not fully meeting their demands.

On Sunday 28, the government promised a “major defense effort” in the face of farmers' plans to begin a “siege” of Paris from Monday, while the powerful and main agricultural union federation FNSEA called for “calm”. , but warned that the sector would remain “fully mobilized”.

The French government on Sunday called on police to set up an “important defensive measure” to prevent farmers from blocking the entrances to Paris.

To this end, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin met on Sunday with the general directors of the police and gendarmerie as well as the head of the Paris police.

While Prime Minister Gabriel Attal vowed to “act quickly” in response to farmers' anger, the president of France's main agricultural union urged the government to “go much further.”

Planned siege on Monday

“From Monday 29th, 2:00 p.m [13H00 GMT] “The farmers (…) will besiege the capital indefinitely,” announced two of France’s main agricultural unions, including the powerful FNSEA.

“All main roads leading to the capital will be occupied by farmers,” they added in the short text.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal promised on Friday January 26 to suppress the increase in the price of diesel for agriculture and reiterated his opposition to the signing of the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, made up of South American agribusiness powers (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).

Attal, who was appointed head of government by centrist President Emmanuel Macron this month, also announced greater control of negotiations between producers and traders, aid for certain sectors such as organic farming and a reduction in administrative procedures.

However, their announcements did not convince the FNSEA, which called for “continuation of mobilization.”

(With AFP)