Today: Sunday, 3 March 2024 year

French farmers intend to protest “as long as necessary.”

French farmers intend to protest “as long as necessary.”

Protests by farmers dissatisfied with the policies of the French government continue to gain momentum: farmers block highways across the country and fill prefectures with manure and waste.

On Tuesday, in the commune of Agen in the department of Lot-et-Garonne in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, protesting farmers blocked the entrance to the prefecture building. Videos posted on social media showed trucks and tractors dumping huge piles of hay, manure, car tires and various waste at the entrance. They also splattered the barriers with red paint. According to eyewitnesses, they also used offal and blood from slaughterhouses.

The farmers placed a banner on the gate with the words “We will not die in silence.”

The rally participants also observed a minute’s silence in memory of a woman who died earlier during the farmers’ protests due to a car hitting the barricades.

The day before, farmer unions said they intended to continue protests “throughout the week and for as long as necessary.” The president of the French National Federation of Agricultural Trade Unions (FNSEA), Arnaud Rousseau, said he was receiving information about new barricades “every minute.” According to him, more and more spontaneous demonstrations will begin to take place throughout the country.

French highway operator Vinci has published a warning for car owners on its website.

“Since January 20, demonstrations by farmers have been affecting traffic on many highways. Due to the likelihood of restrictions being extended, Vinci recommends that all drivers check the information before driving,” the message says.

The interactive map shows many areas marked in black – sections of roads blocked by farmers and warnings about demonstrations.

French President Emmanuel Macron in X demanded from the government “full involvement” and “concrete measures” to overcome the crisis in the country.

Farmers in the Occitanie region have continued to block highways since Thursday. The A64 is blocked by tractors, haystacks and mounds of manure. The blockade of the entrances to the Golfeche nuclear power plant continues. Following the call of trade unions, farmers’ protests are gradually spreading throughout the country. About a hundred vehicles and 30 tractors blocked the A7 highway in the Drôme department south of Lyon on Tuesday, BFMTV reported.

The Jeunes Agriculteurs union called for a blockade of the A16 highway in the commune of Beauvais in the Hauts-de-France region, where one of the three Paris airports is located. The A62 highway is blocked at the commune level of Agen in the Lot-et-Garonne department in the New Aquitaine region. Protests continue in the Bayonne area on the A63 in both directions.

Farmers are demanding recognition of the importance of their profession and condemning government agricultural policies that they say make them uncompetitive. In particular, they oppose the import of agricultural products, restrictions on the use of water for irrigation, increasing the cost of diesel fuel, as well as restrictive measures to protect the environment and the growing financial burden on production.

As reported by the media, Macron fears the spontaneous growth of the protest movement of French farmers and the emergence of a new social movement like the “yellow vests”.