Farmers banned from driving tractors to The Hague for Prinsjesdag protests


Police in The Hague have confiscated four tractors from farmers who wanted to take part in a protest to coincide with the state opening of parliament.

Mayor Jan van Zanen issued an emergency order on Monday night after farmers were seen heading towards the city centre.

Four vehicles were seized at the Schenkviaduct, near Holland Spoor station, while others were turned away in the Koningstunnel, Benoordenhoutseweg and in Leidschendam.

Van Zanen said protests were permitted on Prinsjesdag, but tractors were explicitly banned for the sake of public order.

‘Everyone is welcome but not if they bring heavy equipment,’ he told NOS. ‘We have to keep the route safe and make sure it doesn’t disturb the general public.’

Justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz also warned farmers who wanted to protest to leave their tractors at home.

‘Tractors will be confiscated by police,’ she said on Twitter. ‘Think about the safety of everyone who is coming for Prinsjesdag.’

The farmers’ protests began three years ago when hundreds of tractors were driven to The Hague and parked on the Malieveld to demonstrate against plans to cut the agriculture sector.

The measures were announced in the wake of a ruling by the Council of State that required the government to protect nature conservation areas by drastically reducing nitrogen compound emissions.

The livestock farming sector, which is responsible for 41% of emissions according to the public health agency RIVM, will bear the brunt of the cuts.

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