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Farmers Protest in Brussels, Demand EU Concessions

by Kehinde Giwa
  • Large-scale farmer protests erupt in Brussels: Over 900 tractors flooded the streets, causing major traffic disruption.
  • Farmers clash with police: Protesters used liquid manure, eggs, and flares, while police responded with tear gas and water cannons.
  • Concerns over regulations and competition: Farmers demand changes to EU agricultural policies and fairer competition against cheaper imports.
  • Protests extend beyond Brussels: Similar actions happen in Spain, Germany, and Poland, expressing discontent with EU policies and subsidies.

Farmers in Brussels protested against agricultural red tape and import competition, filling streets with 900 tractors. 

Tensions escalated as protesting farmers disrupted the European Union, EU, minister meetings, deploying liquid manure, eggs, and flares. 

Police responded with tear gas and water cannons, causing traffic and chaos. Similar protests unfolded in Spain, Germany, and Poland, with border blockades and demonstrations against subsidy program changes.

Farmers are upset by what they see as red tape surrounding agricultural policies and unfair competition from other countries’ cheap imports that don’t have to follow EU regulations.

According to Marieke Van De Vivere, a farmer from northern Belgium who spoke with The Associated Press, farmers are “getting ignored.” She added that she invited the ministers “to be reasonable to us, to come with us on a day to work on the field, or with the horses or with the animals, to see that it is not very easy … because of the rules they put on us.”

Morgan Ody, general coordinator of the farming organisation La Via Campesina, said, “We’re here again in Brussels today as farmers because the European Union is not listening to our demands. Our demands are for fair revenue.”

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She added, “We produce the food, and we don’t make a living. Why is that? Because of free trade agreements. Because of deregulation. Because the prices are below the cost of production. So, we demand the EU to move on this.”

The use of force by some protesters has been condemned by some officials. After protesting farmers broke through police barricades surrounding the European Council building Monday. Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden urged officers to identify “rioters.”

Verlinden said on the X platform, “The right to protest is dear to us so it must be used with respect.”

Similar shows of force have occurred at recent protests. Earlier this month in Brussels, flaming hay bales, eggs and firecrackers were thrown at police near an EU summit.

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