Protesting farmers increase pressure on the French government

Paris (AFP) – Protesting farmers France vowed to surround Paris with tractor barricades and slow-moving traffic on Monday, aiming to trap France's seat of power in a battle with the government over the future of their industry, which has been shaken by the fallout from the coronavirus. Ukraine war.

Traffic barriers that farmers began to place on the main highways heading to the French capital – Hosting the Summer Olympics in six months – And continuing protests elsewhere in France promised another difficult week New Prime Minister Gabriel Attalless than a month on the job.

Atal sought to defuse the farmers' movement last week with a series of pro-agricultural measures but failed. The farmers said they He did not meet their demands To make food production more profitable, easier and fairer.

They responded with pledges to rally starting Monday afternoon with their tractors on the main highways serving Paris, to create what they described as a “siege of the capital” aimed at extracting more concessions from Attal's government.

“Our goal is not to disturb or destroy the lives of the French people,” Arnaud Rousseau, head of the influential agricultural union FNSEA, who is among those leading the protests, told RTL radio.

Our goal is to put pressure on the government to find quick solutions to get out of the crisis.”

France's rising competition movement is another manifestation of this Global food crisis The crisis was exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a major food producer.

French farmers complain that rising prices for war-related fertilisers, energy and other inputs, which they use to grow crops and feed livestock, have eroded their income, even making farming unviable for some.

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Protesters also complain that France's widely subsidized agricultural sector is over-regulated, hurt by red tape and food imports from countries where agricultural producers face lower costs and fewer restrictions.

BFM-TV television channel showed tractors blocking the Paris-bound lanes on a major highway heading toward the capital from the southwest. A sign on one of the lumbering vehicles read: “The state wants us dead.”

Taxi drivers with other grievances also held slow-motion protests on Monday, adding to the picture of traffic difficulties nationwide. Traffic authorities reported that the protests caused congestion on several major highways heading to Paris on Monday morning.

The authorities warned other road users to be prepared to face problems and to use public transportation if possible.

The government announced the deployment of 15,000 police officers, most of them in the Paris region, to prevent any attempt by demonstrators to reach the capital itself as well as to protect its airports and the center of fresh food supplies, the Rungis market. Armored vehicles were part of the security measures taken there.

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