French farmers ‘besiege’ Paris over pay dispute

Paris, France - September 29, 2017: roadblock on eiffel tower background. Police officers and patrol transport. Police car and motorbike. Security road block. Traffic checkpoint. City on lockdown.

French farmers have pledged to ‘besiege’ the capital, Paris, as their protest campaign over low pay, high taxes, and burdensome environmental regulations intensifies.

Farming unions said on Monday that all major roads into the city will be blocked by agricultural vehicles until the government agrees to render greater support to the sector.

There are also fears that demonstrators may attempt to impede access to the fresh food market at Rungis, which is the largest of its kind in Europe and supplies 60% of Paris’s fresh food.

The worsening dispute has prompted President Macron to call a crisis meeting with cabin ministers. Meanwhile, 15,000 police and gendarmes have been mobilised to safeguard the capital.

Monday’s action follows a week of escalating protests. Farmers have been obstructing roads nationwide and, in some places, dumping straw, tyres, and manure in front of government buildings.

The French authorities had offered a number of concessions on Friday in an attempt to assuage protesters’ anger, but farmers have dismissed their proposals as inadequate.

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