Wednesday 10 August 2022

Radical farmers call for demo outside parliament ahead of nitrogen debate

Some farms will have to close. Photo: N. van der Pas

Officials in The Hague have warned protesting farmers that the city will act ‘against dangerous situations’ if they head for parliament by tractor, as radical farmers organisations have called for.

No permit for a demonstration has been requested, the spokesman said. Although The Hague will facilitate protest, he said, demonstrators must stick to the rules and not block access to the roads or essential services.

According to news website Nu.nl, police vans and military police buses were parked outside the parliamentary complex in the centre of the city. Prime minister Mark Rutte and justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz are due to give a short statement about the farmers’ protests shortly before midday.

Radical grouping Farmers Defence Force has called for a protest outside parliament from midday on Tuesday. It is the second day of action by farmers who are angry that some may have to close their operations to meet national pollution targets.

‘On June 28, we will show what halving the number of livestock in the Netherlands means,’ one call to action said. ‘We will make it clear what choices are facing farmers thanks to this government’s sick-making strategy’.

MPs are due to debate the government’s plans to slash nitrogen compound pollution on Tuesday.

Appropriate action

National farmers association LTO Nederland has also called on protesting farmers to take ‘appropriate and worthy’ action and not to break the law.

‘This is the way we can keep public support,’ LTO chairman Sjaak van der Tak said.

At the same time, Van der Tak called on MPs to ‘intercept in the impossible, unrealistic policy drawn up by the minister for nature and nitrogen. There should be ‘no impractical 50% reduction [in nitrogen emissions] by 2030,’ he said in a YouTube statement.

On Monday, farmers blocked roads, threatened to dump manure at a nature reserve, chopped down trees and drove their tractors to town halls. The protests started on Tuesday with hay bale fires alongside several motorways, which also led to delays and traffic jams.

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