French farmers clog highways to protest at ‘agri-bashing’

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PARIS (Information) – French farmers angered by authorities insurance policies that they are saying threaten their livelihoods drove convoys of tractors into Paris on Wednesday, obstructing commuter site visitors and including to the social unrest going through President Emmanuel Macron.

French farmers drive their tractors on the A6 motorway on their approach to Paris, protesting in opposition to low farm incomes and rising criticism of agricultural practices, France, November 27, 2019. The slogan reads “Macron, reply”. Information/Gonzalo Fuentes

As much as a thousand tractors rolled into the town from the north and south, at instances blocking motorways and the inside ring-road, honking horns and flying the flags of the 2 foremost farm unions staging the protest.

Within the metropolis heart, farmers threw hay throughout the boutique-lined Champs-Elysees Avenue and occupied the lanes headed in the direction of the Place de la Concorde sq.. Riot police urged the farmers to disperse.

“”Macron, reply us! Save farmers,” learn one banner carried by a tractor rolling down the A1 autoroute.

Farmers’ unions are demanding a gathering with Macron to precise grievances over insurance policies that they are saying are hurting agriculture and threatening their livelihoods, such because the phasing out of the frequent weedkiller glyphosate.

A meals regulation handed by Macron’s authorities, which aimed to provide farmers a fairer share of earnings, has didn’t dispel their discontent over modest revenues.

Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume defended the federal government’s document, saying the regulation would assist as soon as it had extra time to have an effect. Metropolis dwellers and environmentalists ought to cease denigrating farmers, he advised Europe 1 radio.

“SCAPEGOATS”

The protest was just like a blockade carried out by Irish farmers in Dublin on Wednesday, though the 2 occasions weren’t coordinated.

Macron, 41, has confronted discontent in opposition to his social and financial reform agenda throughout French society.

His authorities final week introduced emergency financing in a failed try to go off additional hospital strikes and has been locked in negotiations with unions this week over pension reform forward of nationwide transport strikes on Dec. fifth.

Resentment amongst farmers has been rising at what they name “agri-bashing”, or criticism of agriculture over points starting from pesticide use to animal welfare.

Assaults on livestock farms and butcher’s outlets by vegan activists have triggered explicit outrage. Longstanding tensions with environmental associations have in the meantime deepened amid debates about banning glyphosate and limiting pesticide use close to residential areas.

“We’re the brand new scapegoats. As quickly as one thing goes flawed, it’s the farmers’ fault,” Jean-Yves Bricourt, chief of the primary FNSEA union within the administrative division of Aisne, advised Information. “We’re handled like criminals.”

Slideshow (23 Photographs)

Farmers extensively blame Macron for speeding to ban glyphosate by 2021, going past present European Union coverage, though the federal government has promised exemptions for farms that haven’t any viable various.

Macron has additionally been underneath stress from farmers over EU commerce offers with Canada and the Mercosur bloc of South American international locations, which farming teams say will usher in imports of cheaper agricultural items produced to decrease requirements.

France is the biggest agricultural producer within the EU and the most important beneficiary of subsidies underneath the EU’s Frequent Agricultural Coverage.

Extra reporting by Gus Trompiz, Sybille de La Hamaide and Matthieu Protard; Writing by Richard Lough; Enhancing by Catherine Evans, William Maclean and Peter Graff