As French farmers mobilize for nationwide protests demanding improved pay and living conditions, France has heightened security measures in Paris. The agricultural workers, facing concerns of unfair competition from less regulated countries, have staged roadblocks on motorways over the past week, causing disruptions.
Some farmers’ unions have called for transport roadblocks around Paris, with a focus on the Rungis food market. Farmer Daniel Faucheux expressed the aim to “encircle Paris” as he prepared to lead a convoy of vehicles and tractors to the capital.
The protests come amidst a call from a European Central Bank (ECB) official to slow wage growth for interest rate cuts, highlighting a perceived disconnect between the elite and public needs.
In response to the protests, Paris police have increased security around Rungis and Paris Roissy airport, deploying armoured police vehicles. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin emphasized measures to prevent tractors from entering Paris while acknowledging potential disruptions in the Ile-de-France region. Approximately 15,000 police personnel are part of the security operation.
The demonstrations in France align with similar actions in Germany and Poland. The far-right, viewing farmers as a growing constituency, anticipates gains in the upcoming European elections in June.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, a prominent opponent of President Emmanuel Macron, visited demonstrators in northern France, advocating for farmers to be exempted from free trade agreements.
Despite the government’s recent decision to drop plans for reducing state subsidies on agricultural diesel, many farmers continue to demand further measures to alleviate financial and administrative pressures.