French Farmers Protest : The Siege Of Paris

French farmers are making a significant statement with their “siege of Paris” march  and nationwide demonstrations. This demonstration is only one part of a larger nationwide movement that reflects farmers’ dissatisfaction with declining profits, rising costs, imposing green rules,red tapism , and growing competition from foreign goods. 

Despite warnings, hundreds of French farmers are converging at points around the outskirt of Paris. There are around 10,000 farmers protesting on the roads , blocking about hundred spots along major intersections. 

Around 15,000 police with armoured vehicles have been deployed to confront the protesters. Police said 18 people were arrested for disrupting traffic near Rungis . 

Farmers’ unions urged their members to continue fighting for higher wages, less red tape, and protection from international competition after being dissatisfied with the concessions made by President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.

The head of the farmers’ association in the southwestern Lot-et-Garonne ,Serge Bousquet-Cassagne said, ‘”I’m so proud of you. You are fighting this battle because if we don’t fight we die.”

The protest is not from out of the blue , farmers argue that they do not have a choice . They are fed up with the system , the unreasonable charges and strict subsidy rules imposed by the European Union. They demand the government must change their policy regarding the issue.

French Government’s Reaction

The protest has become a challenge for the French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who has only been on the position for three weeks after a shake-up in the cabinet.

On Tuesday, Attal said that his government is firmly determined to sort out the crisis. He also addressed the agricultural sector as the strength and pride of the country. Agriculture embodies the “values of work, freedom and entrepreneurship”, Attal said, adding: “It is one of the foundations of our identity and our traditions.”He declared in reference to EU regulations ,  “France must be granted an exception for its agriculture.” Attal informed MPs that “new support measures” would be unveiled in the upcoming days.”

But the sweet talk does not seem to be effective as French farmers are determined about their stand. A 33-year-old sugar beet farmer named Florian Portemer is among hundreds of farmers camping out on the A1 highway, a short distance north of the Charles de Gaulle airport, in protest. “We are prepared to stay as long as we need to,” he confessed his grievance. 

The blockade is a potential challenge for the French government. It has only created minor disruption in the food supply but if this goes on there can be major difficulties in the food supply chain.

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Author: Miftahul Zannat

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