France | “Defensive device” faced with the threat of a “siege” of Paris by farmers

(Paris) The government promised Sunday an “important defensive device” in the face of the desire of farmers to begin a “siege” of Paris from Monday, while the FNSEA called for “calm” but warned that the mobilization of the profession would remain “total”.

While Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, back on the ground, vowed to “move quickly” to respond to the anger of farmers, the president of the first French agricultural union urged the government to “go much further”.

“We didn’t cope well with what happened last week: the communications, the cameras, the straw bale and all that, it’s not our thing. What we need are decisions which we feel will change the software,” said Arnaud Rousseau in front of farmers blocking the A16 motorway near Beauvais (Oise).

Despite a lull, many road links remained cut on Sunday, from Normandy to Gard via the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and the Meuse.

The situation threatens to become even more tense with a plan to block access to Paris on Monday from 2 p.m.

“Everything will be organized in security around several blocking points on important strategic motorway axes, there will be seven blocking points all around Paris”, which will be manned “by tractors, farmers”, affirmed Clément Torpier, president of the Young Farmers Île-de-France, on BFMTV.

“Week of all dangers”

According to him, “there is going to be a military organization, there is no question that another accident will happen” after the one which cost the lives of a farmer and her daughter in Ariège.

The Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, who is organizing an interministerial crisis meeting on Sunday evening, asked law enforcement officials on Sunday to put in place “an important defensive system in order to prevent any blockage” by farmers in the Rungis market, Ile-de-France airports and “to prohibit all entry into Paris”, according to his ministry.

From the start of the evening, police forces including gendarmerie armored vehicles were deployed around Rungis, noted an AFP journalist. But “the posture remains the same: the police must act with great moderation”, we explained at Place Beauvau.


Tires block the highway during a blockade, near Agen, in the southwest of France, Saturday January 27, 2024.

And the mobilization should resume early Monday around Lyon, according to the Rhône prefecture, which mentioned a snail operation coming from the Monts du Lyonnais then motorway blockages. The local branches of the FNSEA and the JA promised “ramifications throughout the region”.

According to Mr. Rousseau, the sequence which opens is that of a “week of all dangers, either because the government does not hear us, or because the anger will be such that everyone will then take their responsibilities”.

For his part, Mr. Attal conceded “that, through these first measures (announced on Friday, Editor’s note), we have not yet responded to everything that I have just mentioned and what constitutes the discomfort and the to be one of our farmers today.”


French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal

“And I am determined to move forward, move forward resolutely, move forward quickly,” declared the Prime Minister in La Riche (Indre-et-Loire). Shortly before, on a farm northeast of Tours, Mr. Attal was questioned about multiple aspects of the crisis: falling income, low pensions, administrative complexity, inflation of standards, foreign competition, etc.

“I want us to clarify things and see what additional measures we can take on these stories of unfair competition,” assured the head of government.

Demonstration in Belgium

“I confirm to him, we must go much further,” replied Mr. Rousseau, who presented dozens of grievances to the government this week: “as long as these demands are not met, the mobilization will be total,” he said. -he says.

Mr. Attal unveiled emergency measures on Friday, including the abandonment of the increase in the tax on non-road diesel (GNR), inflated compensation for breeders whose cattle have been affected by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, heavy sanctions against three agri-food manufacturers not respecting the Egalim laws on prices.

But the president of the Republicans, Éric Ciotti, deemed these responses “ridiculously weak” and pleaded, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche, for a minimum net monthly income for farmers of 1,500 euros.

For her part, traveling to a farm in Radinghem-en-Weppes (North), the leader of the far right, Marine Le Pen, denounced the government’s agricultural policy. “They will not call into question the model” that they support “at the level of the European Union”, “which is a model which kills agriculture”, she said, believing that it was necessary “to get out agriculture of free trade agreements”.

Exasperated like their French neighbors by a common European agricultural policy they believe is disconnected from the field, Belgian farmers blocked a highway in the south of their country on Sunday. Farmers have also mobilized recently in Germany, Poland, Romania and the Netherlands.


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