Angry French farmers stage road blockades across the country

French farmers are staging a blockade of the country's major roads in a protest over the 'disregard' of their profession.

Angry French farmers stage road blockades across the country
The blockade follows a protest in Limoges where agricultural waste was dumped. Photo: AFP

The farming unions  FNSEA and JA gave called on their members to stage road blockades on major routes around the country on Tuesday, October 8th.

The unions say their protest is over three things: “Agribashing, which damages the image of our daily business, trade agreements aimed at importing food that we do not want and distortions of competition that are slowly killing French agriculture.”

French farmers have already shown their anger with the lighting of a series of bonfires across the country aimed at highlighting their plight.

The issue of pesticide use in agriculture has become a hot topic in France, with dozens of environmental protesters staging weekly protests and calling for stricter controls on the use of chemicals.

France has one of the highest levels of pesticide use in Europe and there have been a number of health scares linked to their use.

But as the government moves to enact further restrictions, farmers say they are being 'demonised' by the green lobby.

Damien Greffin, president of the FNSEA Ile-de-France said: “The agricultural world is stigmatised on a daily basis.”

Farming unions have already voiced anger at the Ceta – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada that substantially lowers tariffs on imports including food. French farmers say they will be unable to compete with cheaper imports.

Some smaller protests have already begun, on Monday around 100 farmers and 23 tractors marched through the streets of Limoges. The demonstrators dumped manure and several tons of agricultural waste in front of the agricultural social mutual society, the payment service agency, and outside the gates of the Haute-Vienne préfecture where hay was burned.

In Nevers, about 80 farmers with 20 tractors demonstrated in the streets, according to a joint statement by the FDSEA and young farmers in Nièvre, saying they were “exhausted and discouraged by the succession of hazards caused by the political and media attacks to which they are subjected on a daily basis”.


Member comments

  1. And if you or I behaved like that, how would we be treated? Time to treat farmers breaking the law the same way as any other citizen.
    If you disagree farmers, tough.

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French village inherits fortune from Austrian who fled Nazis

An Austrian man who fled the Nazis with his family during World War II has bequeathed a large part of his fortune to the French village whose residents hid them from persecution for years.

French village inherits fortune from Austrian who fled Nazis
The village of Chambon-sur-Lignon in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France. Photo: AFP

Eric Schwam, who died aged 90 on December 25th, wrote the surprise gift into his will for Chambon-sur-Lignon, located on a remote mountain plateau in the Auvergne area of southeast France that historically has a large Protestant community known for offering shelter to those in need.

“It's a large amount for the village,” Mayor Jean-Michel Eyraud told AFP.

He declined to specify the amount since the will was still being sorted out, but his predecessor, who told a local website that she met with Schwam and his wife twice to discuss the gift, said it was around two million euros.

Schwam and his family arrived in 1943 and were hidden in a school for the duration of the war, and remained until 1950.

He later studied pharmacy and married a Catholic woman from the region near Lyon, where they lived.

Eyraud said Schwam asked that the money be used for educational and youth initiatives, in particular scholarships.

Around 2,500 Jews were taken in and protected during World War II by Chambon-sur-Lignon, whose residents were honoured as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre.

Over the centuries the village has taken in a wide range of people fleeing religious or political persecution, from priests driven into hiding during the French Revolution to Spanish republicans during the civil war of the 1930s, and more recently migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa.