Protesting Farmers Surround Paris With Tractors in ‘Siege’ to Gain Concessions


Protesting French farmers surrounded Paris Monday using tractor barricades, amid a standoff with the government over regulations and shrinking incomes.

The protesters say that amid the ongoing Ukraine war, fertilizer prices and other inputs for livestock feeding and crop-growing have increased and have eaten into their income. They also argue that their agricultural sector is heavily subsidized and overregulated, and that their livelihoods are hurt by food imports from countries with fewer constraints.

The French government announced that it will deploy 15,000 police officers to stop protesters from entering the capital and has sent officers and armored vehicles to Rungis market, one of the central locations for fresh food in Paris.

In what the protesters have called a “siege,” they blocked all six lanes of the A4 highway at Jossigny, near the Disneyland theme park, and they parked their tractors to form an ear of wheat. Some signs included slogans like “No food without farmers” or “The end of us would mean famine for you.”

The A6 highway south of Paris was also blocked by protesters, who dropped hay bales using forklifts, as seen in images shown by broadcaster BFM-TV.

Some protesters brought food, water and tents to prepare to stay at the barricade should the French government not grant concessions.

Arnaud Rousseau, president of the FNSEA agricultural union explained these protests, saying, “Our goal is to put pressure on the government to rapidly find solutions out of the crisis,” not to “bother or to ruin French people’s lives.”

This is one of many protests that have occurred since Prime Minister Gabriel Attal was appointed less than a month ago. Protesters have said that Attal’s recent pro-agricultural policies have not met their demands that producing food in France should be easier and more fair.

Other similar protests are occurring throughout France, with taxi drivers organizing drive-slow protests Monday. Authorities have advised a switch to public transportation, if possible, to avoid disruptions.__Courtesy VOA News