Farmers block major roads around Paris over falling incomes
French farmers have initiated the deployment of hundreds of tractors to block strategic routes leading into the French capital, dubbed the “siege of Paris.”
Farmers contend they are experiencing declining incomes, grappling with environmental regulations, facing mounting bureaucracy, and contending with competition from imported goods.
French authorities report the mobilization of 15,000 police officers to prevent tractors from entering Paris and other urban centers.
Simultaneous protests are unfolding throughout the nation.
On Monday, hundreds of thousands of farmers converged to obstruct major highways leading to Paris, paralleling similar demonstrations in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands.
“We cannot sustain farming at low cost… we must be able to derive a livelihood from our profession,” conveyed a protester in Paris to the BBC.
Although farming unions have labeled the protest as “a siege of Paris,” peripheral roads to the city have remained accessible.
Farmers aim to obstruct food deliveries to supermarkets—an action cautioned against by officials.
Yet, authorities have instructed law enforcement not to intervene, and thus far, there have been no indications of disorder.
The head of France’s biggest farmers’ union, the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions (FNSEA), Arnaud Rousseau, said the goal was to force the government to find a quick resolution to the stand-off.
He also said the protest movement would continue everywhere in France “with the very concrete objective of having emergency measures announced” – especially surrounding food prices and reciprocity of rules.
In response to the blockades, French government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot said new measures would be announced on Tuesday, in addition to those announced last week.
Last week’s included dropping a planned hike in taxes on fuel and additional support for farmers whose animals fall ill.
The Elysée Palace also announced French President Emmanuel Macron will meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday in Brussels, to discuss the agriculture industry and EU-wide support for farmers.