Why 1,000 tractors are converging on Paris

French farmers are to stage a major protest on Wednesday - using 1,000 tractors to form rolling roadblocks on roads in the Paris area.

Why 1,000 tractors are converging on Paris
French farmers are angry at the direction of government policy. Photo: AFP

The demonstration is being staged by the two main farming unions in protest at what they say is consistent 'agri bashing' and government policies that harm french agriculture.

The tractors, which are being driven up from regions including Hauts-de-France, Normandy, Ile-de-France, Grand-Est, Centre-Val-de-Loire and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, will converge in the greater Paris Île-de-France region at 6am on Wednesday, November 27th.

It is expected that the A1, A4, A5, A6, A10, A11, A13, A14 and A15 motorways will be affected, as well as the N1, N2, N12 and N20 highways and disruption is likely to continue for most of the day.

French farming unions have been staging a series of protests in recent months, with bans on the use of pesticides a major concern.

READ ALSO Why are French farmers lighting bonfires across the country?

The unions are calling for a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron to express their concerns.

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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.