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France steps up security as Paris farmers' protest looms

Published 01/28/2024, 07:28 AM
Updated 01/29/2024, 09:32 AM
© Reuters. French farmers use their tractors during a go-slow operation near Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport as they protest over price pressures, taxes and green regulation, grievances shared by farmers across Europe, in Compans, near Paris, France, January 27, 20

By Benjamin Mallet and Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS (Reuters) -France stepped up security measures on Sunday as farmers prepared to converge on Paris as part of nationwide protests from agricultural workers demanding better pay and living conditions.

Farmers in France, the European Union's biggest agricultural producer, have complained of unfair competition from rivals in more lightly regulated countries. Over the last week, they have set up roadblocks on motorways to highlight their cause. They have also damaged property, including local government offices.

Some farmers' unions called for protesters to set up transport roadblocks around the capital on Monday, and to target the Rungis food market near Paris.

"Our aim is to encircle Paris," farmer Daniel Faucheux told BFM TV, as he prepared to travel to the capital in a convoy of farmers' vehicles and tractors.

The Paris police body said that, in response to this, it was increasing security around Rungis and the Paris Roissy airport. It also published videos on its social media account of armoured police vehicles taking up position by Rungis.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said those measures were to ensure no tractor could get into Paris, but he nevertheless warned of disruption on Monday in the Ile-de-France region, which covers Paris and the nearby suburbs. He added that around 15,000 police would be used as part of the security operation.

"Transport will be very difficult tomorrow in Ile-de-France," said Darmanin.

"We are losing a bit of our economic growth as a result of these roadblocks," he added.

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The French protests follow similar action in other European countries, including Germany and Poland, ahead of European elections in June in which the far right - for whom farmers represent a growing constituency - are predicted to make gains.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen - President Emmanuel Macron's closest opponent in the 2017 and 2022 elections - visited some of those demonstrating in northern France.

"We have got to get our farming out of these free trade agreements," she said.

On Friday, the government dropped plans to gradually reduce state subsidies on agricultural diesel, and announced other steps to reduce the financial and administrative pressures farmers face. Nevertheless, many farmers want more.

Latest comments

Yup...screw the farmers.... Ukraine need the money badly.....
the FR market will just rise to cover this kind of news, sad but true.
Using security against your own citizens is a sign of failed government or political leadership.
In years gone by effective leaders would at least try negotiation, just plain talking, before going straight to this.  Even basic customer service courses teach people how just listening can calm down an angry customer.
its peculiar how liberal unions generally strike during major economic turmoil. disrest upon disrest. the liberal agenda that makes people suffer as much as possible.
I don't know of any unions representing independent farmers, especially in this country. When you are used as a pawn while feeding the world and see other classes and workers getting pay increases to offset inflationary pressures while you keep losing buying power I suppose you are to just keep quiet  and work. Typical corporate and capitalistic stance.
 Regarding your last sentnce.....  A capitalist approach would be to want less government intervention and have the free market to determine pricing of equipment and supplies.  From the article, it states that extra government regulation is causing the cost of doing business to increase to the farmers.  But regarding Todd Gray above, there have been times when strikes occur to increase wages or other things when times are tough and aren't necessarily good for anyone, like at this time with the average food bill up about 33% over the past couple of years which is exponential inflation compared to what was happening prior to that.  The government influx of money has caused the inflation, and that being said, government intervention has never solved a problem, only made them worse or caused them when it is regarding business and the economy.
I'm right there with them. Farmers and farm workers have been treated as second class citizens for decades. Lower standards of living but paying high class prices for equipment and inputs, making money for the big multinational conglomerate grain and livestock companies. Creating value that multiplies through nations economies and keeping countries healthy and well fed
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