Sunday 12 July 2020

Court case to stop farmers blockading supermarkets before Christmas

An earlier protest on the Malieveld in The Hague. Photo: Molly Quell

Supermarkets are taking the lobby group Farmers Defence Force to court to try to stop protests which they say will lead to empty shelves in the run-up to Christmas.

The collective body for food retailers (CBL) is seeking an injunction against blockades of distribution centres planned for Wednesday. FDF did not respond to an ultimatum set for 10am on Friday and said the protests would go ahead as planned.

A judge will decide on Monday whether to grant the request to ban the blockades, even though FDF has not said exactly what its plans are. FDF chairman Mark den Oever said he would send ‘a few thousand tractors’ to the offices of the CBL and their lawyers, Allen & Overy.

Den Oever came under fire at the weekend for comparing the Dutch farmers’ situation to the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

‘They want to deport a small minority of hard-working inhabitants because they live close to nature,’ he told a sitting of the Noord-Brabant provincial assembly.

‘We saw 75 years ago where the decimation of a small group of the population leads. To this day it remains a historic scandal. I want to hold up a mirror to you so that you can’t say afterwards: “Wir haben es nicht gewusst” [We didn’t know]’.

FDF said in a statement on Monday that it ‘regretted’ the offence caused, but added: ‘We are of the opinion that a number of comparisons are appropriate and show worrying similarities.’

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