Watch video: Massive protest continues as French farmers garland Paris with tractors

The demonstrations represent the first significant traffic disruptions resulting from the ongoing farmer protests.

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Courtesy: X/LucAuffret

Paris: French farmers took to the streets, blocking major motorways linking Paris with northern cities like Lille, as well as routes to Benelux and Britain, causing significant traffic disruptions. The protests, sparked by grievances over low food prices and burdensome regulations, mark a concerted effort by farming unions to voice their discontent.

Traffic jams and roadblocks

Farmers strategically blocked the A1 motorway north of Paris, resulting in traffic jams stretching approximately 4 kilometers during the morning rush hour. Reports indicated additional roadblocks in the Essonne department south of Paris, with further protests scheduled throughout the day. The demonstrations represent the first significant traffic disruptions resulting from the ongoing farmer protests.

Demand for government action

Farming unions, including the influential FNSEA, called for immediate government intervention to address issues of low pay, provide urgent aid to sectors severely impacted by the crisis, and develop long-term plans to alleviate regulatory burdens. FNSEA President Arnaud Rousseau stressed the necessity of urgent measures and emphasised the farmers' unwavering determination.

EU Commission President's response

In Brussels, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen convened a discussion panel to address concerns raised by farmers across the European Union. The dialogue aims to address challenges such as international competition, domestic overregulation, climate change, biodiversity loss, and demographic shifts. As campaigning for the upcoming EU parliamentary elections gains momentum, the future of the agricultural sector emerges as a central issue.

Protests continue across Europe

The protests in France echo similar demonstrations in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania in recent weeks, highlighting a pan-European sentiment among farmers regarding the need for substantial policy reforms and support from governmental authorities.

French farmers' blockades of major motorways underscore their resolve to seek meaningful change in agricultural policies and economic conditions. As the government prepares to announce initial measures in response to farmer demands, the protests serve as a reminder of the pressing issues facing the agricultural sector both in France and across the European Union.