‘We Are Marching on Our Heads’: After ‘Green’ Policies Turned Their Life Upside Down, Protesting French Farmers Converge on Paris

The French know their food, know their wine. National pride regarding their cuisine is a major cultural force in the Republic.

And it all starts, of course, with the agriculture.

Extremely organized and highly influential, French farmers have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by what they see as a mix of low farmgate prices, green regulations and free-trade policies.

As in many other European nations, disruptive protests broke out in the southwest of France, and spread across the country.

French farmers blocked highways in their second week of swelling protests, moving ever closer to Paris, where they are expected to arrive today (26).

Protesting French farmers converge on Paris.

They say the protests will continue until their demands are met.

Reuters reported:

“‘All possibilities are still on the table’, Arnaud Gaillot, the head of the Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union told journalists when asked about reports farmers could start to disrupt traffic in Paris as soon as Friday. […] Asked when the protesters would lift roadblocks, Gaillot said to ask [Prime Minister] Attal: ‘It is he who holds the key’.”

The protest rapidly developed into a major crisis to be handled by inexperienced new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

“French intelligence services have warned the government that regional farming unions have called on their members to converge on the capital, Le Parisien newspaper and BFM TV said.”

While Attal will announce concrete proposals today, farmers are using bales of hay and tractors to block highways across France. On the southwestern outskirts of Paris, dozens of tractors led a ‘go-slow’ disrupting the morning rush-hour.

“‘We always have more rules to follow, we are always asked for more and we earn less and less. We cannot live from our work anymore’, 61-year-old farmer Jean-Jacques Pesquerel from the Calvados Coordination Rurale union said.”

Behind in the polls, President Emmanuel Macron worries that that farmers will help the rightwing parties. Conservative Marine Le Pen criticized the government for backing European regulations that hurt farmers.

“‘Emmanuel Macron addresses farmers with a hand on the shoulder and then knifes them in the back in Brussels‘, Le Pen told reporters. ‘The farmers’ worst enemies can be found in this government’, she added.”

But the left also wants in on the ‘fun’: second-largest CGT trade union called for joining forces with the farmers in a broader social front against Macron.

Traffic signs turned upside-down in a desperate protest.

All over France, farmers turn traffic signs upside down, in protest for green policies that upended their lives.

Euronews reported:

“Already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, Europe’s farmers are speaking out against policies they say are contradictory, unfair and leave them worried for the future.

Roads have been blocked across France, manure and agricultural waste dropped outside public offices, and bales of hay spread through fast food restaurants.

It started last year when farmers began unscrewing road signs and putting them back upside down. They sometimes added the slogan ‘on marche sur les têtes’ meaning ‘we’re walking on our heads’ in reference to their world being turned upside down.”

Agriculture anger stems from different policies and funding cuts.

“Agricultural diesel was set to get more expensive as subsidies were removed, farmers were facing an extra €47 million per year in fees for water consumption and they say complicated regulations have made it difficult to know what they can or cannot do.

They also object to bans on pesticides and herbicides driven by the EU’s Green Deal and a new EU-wide treaty that could see the import of more Brazilian and Argentinian beef. Farmers claim competing with these countries is extremely hard as they aren’t bound by strict rules on animal welfare.”

And now the mounting pressure arrives in the ‘city of love’, Paris.

Drive-slows, barricades of straw bales, stinky dumps of agricultural waste outside government buildings are some of the actions by the protesters.

Associated Press reported:

“’We’re hit from both sides with high fixed costs but low prices. You don’t need a drawing to imagine what our balance sheets look like’, said Benoit Mazure, a regional representative of the influential FNSEA agricultural union.

Protest leaders said farmers would closely scrutinize measures expected Friday from the government in response to their demands before deciding on next steps.

‘The determination is total’, said Arnaud Rousseau, the [National Federations of Farmer’s Syndicates]  president. ‘We expect urgent measures’.”

Read more:

Peter Sweden: IT’S SPREADING – Massive Farmers Protest in Germany (Video)

source

Share :
comments

post a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *