Police are warning people to stay out of central The Hague on Wednesday afternoon after a protest by farmers threatened to descend into chaos.
The army has been brought in to block off roads and make sure that thousands of angry farmers, many on tractors, do not reach the Binnenhof parliamentary complex.
In Den Haag is de Utrechtsebaan #A12 richting het Malieveld weer één grote parkeerplaats voor tractoren. Vanzelfsprekend is de weg dicht vanaf de afrit Den Haag-Bezuidenhout. pic.twitter.com/JfQ8a216Ps
— ANWBverkeer (@ANWBverkeer) October 16, 2019
‘It is spectacular,’ one farmer from Drenthe told DutchNews.nl, referring to the turnout on the Malieveld open space near parliament, where thousands of tractors have parked.
‘The government, the politicians in The Hague, they don’t listen to us,’ said another farmer from Friesland, who also declined to give his name. ‘They don’t understand our lives.’
‘We have to break the rules,’ said a third, who gave his name as Jan. ‘The government breaks the rules all the time. Look at what they are doing. We are just doing the same.’
Farmers say that they are bearing the brunt of emergency measures to combat nitrogen-based pollution and that the calculations used to measure emissions must be wrong. Regional protests on Monday led four of the 12 provincial governments to agree to suspend measures they are imposing.
In The Hague, prime minister Mark Rutte and interim mayor Johan Remkes urged farmers to stick to the agreed protest site and to follow police instructions.
By not keeping to the rules farmers are creating dangerous situations for residents and shoppers, Remkes said.
Wednesday’s protests began in Bilthoven near Utrecht, causing long delays on the roads in the early hours of morning and later in the early afternoon, when the convoy of tractors headed for The Hague. The A12 motorway was closed for a time.
According to The Hague police, farmers broke through a road block aimed at diverting them to the car parks at Ado Den Haag’s stadium and instead headed into the city.
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