French farmers to continue roadblocks 'as long as necessary'

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French farmers to continue roadblocks 'as long as necessary'
French Farmers block the A64 highway in south-west France. Photo by Valentine CHAPUIS / AFP

A French farmers' union has vowed to continue protests, including roadblocks on motorways, for "the rest of the week and as long as necessary".


The weekend saw a series of protests from French farmers including blockades on several key highways, and on Monday the protests were ongoing.

On Monday morning the A64 near Toulouse was partially blocked by a wall of tractors and straw bales, while similar blockades had been enacted in the southern départements of Gers and Ariège. Access to a nuclear power plant in Tarn-et-Garonne, south west France, was also blocked by tractors. 

Despite a meeting scheduled on Monday evening with the prime minister to discuss their grievances, spokesmen for the FNSEA union said the demonstrations would continue.


FNSEA President Arnaud Rousseau told France Inter on Monday on Monday morning: "The problems faced by farmers seem to be shared, so let's get on with it!

He added: "I can tell you that from today and throughout the week, and for as long as necessary, a number of actions will be taken."

Echoing farmers' protests around Europe, French agriculture workers are unhappy about heavy burdens of regulation and environmental standards which they say make it impossible to make a profit.

Their protests began in the autumn of 2023 with a campaign of turning village signposts upside down, but has escalated in recent days.

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Among their grievances are the ever-increasing costs the sector faces and what they say is the choking effect of over-zealously imposed environmental regulations.

They are also angry about progressive tax increases on the non-road-use diesel that is essential to their work.

Similar issues have led farmers in other European nations to also take action.

Fleets of tractors have brought traffic to a standstill in Germany and Romania, and farmers have also protested in the Netherlands and Poland.

France's newly-appointment prime minister Gabriel Attal has sought to calm the anger, telling a meeting on Saturday in the southern Rhône area: "Our farmers are not bandits, polluters, people who torture animals, as we sometimes hear."

He will meet with union leaders on Monday evening.


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