French farmers have today started an “indefinite” tractor siege of Paris to protest the Government’s crippling Net Zero policies, blocking off key routes after threatening to “starve” the city amid warnings the capital only has three days of food. The Mail has more.
Tractors are clogging major roads bringing traffic to a grinding halt around the city with stacks of hay bales also used to block carriageways as part of a bitter on-running dispute over work conditions.
Meanwhile, the southern city of Toulouse has nearly been ‘cut off’ in the midst of similar protests in what will be a major test for France’s youngest ever PM Gabriel Attal – just weeks after he was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron aged 34.
In recent weeks there has been a slew of protests in France, a major agricultural producer, by farmers angry about incomes, red tape and environmental policies they say undermine their ability to compete with other countries.
Protesting farmers started the operation by blocking the A13 highway to the west of the capital, the A4 to the east and the A6 on which hundreds of tractors rolled towards Paris from the south. The Government in response has deployed some 15,000 police officers.
By mid-afternoon [the farmers] appeared to have met their objective of establishing eight chokepoints on major roads into Paris, according to Sytadin, a traffic monitoring service.
“We need answers,” said Karine Duc, a farmer in the southwestern Lot-et-Garonne department as she joined a convoy of tractors heading for Paris. “This is the final battle for farming. It’s a question of survival,” she added.
A banner on a tractor in the convoy said: “We will not die in silence.” …
The agriculture workers are protesting for more protection against rising production costs and for an end to green Net Zero policies that they say are putting them out of business.
The Government, wary of seeing the protests escalate and with an eye on European Parliament elections in June, has already dropped plans to gradually reduce subsidies on agricultural diesel and promised to ease environmental regulations.
France also said it would push its European Union peers to agree to ease regulations on fallow farmland. But farmers’ organisation said it was not enough.
Worth reading in full.