French Farmers Set to Surround Paris, Security Measures Heightened

World » EU | January 29, 2024, Monday // 12:05
Bulgaria: French Farmers Set to Surround Paris, Security Measures Heightened

French authorities are bracing themselves for nationwide protests by agricultural workers scheduled for Monday in Paris. The farmers, dissatisfied with their pay and living conditions, have intensified their demonstrations over the past week, employing highway blockades and causing damage to public property, including government offices.

Agricultural workers in France, the European Union's leading agricultural producer, are expressing frustration over what they perceive as unfair competition from counterparts in European countries with less stringent adherence to common rules. The ongoing protests mirror similar actions taken by farmers in Germany and Poland, reflecting a broader European trend.

Ahead of Monday's demonstrations, some farmers' unions are urging protesters to establish transport blockades around Paris and converge on the Rungis food market near the capital. "Our goal is to surround Paris," declared one farmer in an interview with BFM television.

In response to the heightened tensions, Paris police have increased security measures around the market and Charles de Gaulle airport. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has affirmed that law enforcement is taking all necessary steps to prevent tractors from entering Paris. However, he acknowledged potential disruptions in the central part of the capital during the protests. Approximately 15,000 police officers are set to be involved in the operation.

The protests come amid a broader wave of agricultural discontent in Europe, with far-right political leaders increasingly aligning with farmers' causes. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French far-right, visited demonstrators in northern France and pledged to exclude agriculture from any free trade deals negotiated by the EU with third countries.

In response to the unrest, the French government recently abandoned plans to phase out state subsidies for diesel used in farm machinery. Additional measures were announced to alleviate financial and administrative pressures on farmers. However, many protesters argue that these measures fall short of addressing their concerns, signaling that demonstrations are likely to persist. The heightened security measures reflect the government's recognition of the significance and potential impact of the ongoing agricultural protests.

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Tags: Paris, protest, farmers, police

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