German farmers come to Berlin to protest DW German

German farmers come to Berlin to protest – DW (German)

Dozens of farmers arrived in Berlin on Sunday ahead of demonstrations against the government's plans to cut subsidies.

According to local daily Berliner Zeitung, the convoy reached the famous Brandenburg Gate at 5:30 p.m. local time (15:30 UTC). A candlelight vigil is planned for 11 p.m

What are the farmers' protests about?

Farmers are demonstrating against plans by the federal government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz to suspend agricultural subsidies. The government coalition consists of Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP).

On Thursday the government announced that it would withdraw part of the planned subsidy cuts, which the German Farmers' Association (DBV) considers to be an inadequate measure.

A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior warned on Friday that subversive and right-wing extremist elements could try to exploit the protests for their interests.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the FDP called on farmers to “turn around” and added that agriculture was a “highly subsidized sector,” according to Spiegel.

The conservative opposition coalition CDU/CSU, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the right-wing populist Free Voters have expressed their support for the farmers' protests.

Traffic disruptions are expected in various parts of the country

Straße des 17. Juni, a main thoroughfare connecting central Berlin with its western suburbs, was closed to traffic ahead of the protests.

Due to the demonstrations, significant traffic disruptions are expected on Monday.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, the Ministry of Transport of the eastern Brandenburg state expressed fears that there could be disruptions in the delivery of goods. To reduce the likelihood of disruption, the state exempted Jan. 7 from a truck driving ban that applies to all Sundays and public holidays.

Authorities in the northern city state of Hamburg warned of possible traffic chaos as farmers from the state of Schleswig-Holstein are due to arrive in the city for a rally.

sdi/wd (AFP, dpa)

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