Farmers Drive Tractors into Paris as Farmers Bring Fresh Pressure on Macron

Sat Feb 24 2024
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PARIS, France: Farmers rolled tractors into central Paris Friday to put more pressure on President Emmanuel Macron, who promised them a meeting to discuss their grievances but then cancelled the event.

French farmers have joined a Europe-wide movement to protest against environmental regulations, competition from cheap imports from outside the EU and low incomes.

They are demanding answers from the government ahead of the opening of the National Agricultural Exhibition in Paris today (Saturday).

Grain farmer Damien Griffin, regional director of the main farmers’ association FNSEA in Paris, said that the idea was to put a little pressure on before the show started.

Farmers staged countrywide protests last month until the government promised reforms.

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But new measures announced by Prime Minister Gabriel Atal on Wednesday failed to calm the protesters, and all eyes are on President Macron, who is due to visit the annual agricultural fair today.

On Thursday, President Macron said he would hold a debate there involving all stakeholders in the agricultural industry to chart the “future” of the sector.

After protests by farmers’ unions, opposition politicians and even within the government, the Seoul event group was not invited, and Macron’s office said a “mistake” had been made.

But the damage was significant, with FNSEA president Arnaud Rousseau calling Macron’s efforts “cynical” and saying he would not join “anything that does not allow dialogue on good terms.”

Faced with calls for a boycott, President Macron canceled the event altogether, his office said on Friday, adding that he would instead meet with farmers’ unions before the fair begins on Saturday.

According to media reports, authorities were finding it “difficult” to control the movement of farmers in some parts of the country. About 30 tractors entered the center of Paris on Friday morning.

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