France protest: As farmers prepare ‘siege’ of Paris, govt readies new measures

PM Gabriel Attal is set to announce new policy plans later today

France farmers protest Farmers block the highway in Jossigny, east of Paris | AP

Protesting farmers in France on Tuesday set ablaze stacks of hay partly blocking the access to Toulouse airport in southwestern France. Farmers had intensified their protest since Monday as proper actions are not taken by the government in addressing their demands including adopting measures against cheap imports.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal is set to announce new policy plans later on Tuesday.

"Whatever happens, we are determined to go to the end," farmer Jean-Baptiste Bongard was quoted by Reuters. Farmers were camping on a highway in Jossigny, near Paris during overnight.

"If the movement needs to last a month, then it will last a month," said Bongard.

Farmers raising huge placards written "Let's save agriculture" demanded government to take necessary measures before the ‘siege in Paris’.

In Longvillers, farmers had blocked both carriageways of the highway with tractors. According to BFM TV, stacks of hay and tyres were set on fire at the roundabout in front of the airport.

EU Summit

Being the European Union's biggest agricultural producer, framers protest in France is set to gain attention in the summit.

Its been over a week since the protest has been going on. The farmers' campaign for better pay, fewer constraints and lower costs has become a major crisis for Attal in the first month of his new job.

Protesters rejected pro-agriculture measures that Attal announced last week as insufficient.

With tents, reserves of food and water, protesters had come for a long battle as the nation is set to host the Summer Olympics this year. The protest had hit the traffic near Paris as well making it difficult for the people to commute.

In the wake of the protest entering Paris, the government has deployed around 15,000 police officers, to stop any effort by the protesters to enter the capital. Officers and armoured vehicles also were stationed at Paris' hub for fresh food supplies, the Rungis market.

Farmers in neighbouring Belgium also set up barricades to stop traffic reaching some main highways, including into the capital, Brussels.

French farmers assert that higher prices for fertiliser, energy and other inputs for growing crops and feeding livestock have eaten into their incomes.

Protesters also argue that France's massively subsidized farming sector is over-regulated and hurt by food imports from countries where agricultural producers face lower costs and fewer constraints, reported The Associated Press.


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