Netherlands police crack down on farmer protests disrupting freeways News
Netherlands police crack down on farmer protests disrupting freeways

Dutch police stopped farmers’ protests across the Netherlands on Monday regarding low prices for produce and the EU’s Green Deal. The protests disrupted traffic by blocking freeway exit roads and setting fires.

In a statement released on Monday, the police in Gelderland highlighted the health risks and environmental hazards posed by the protests. They also underscored the dangerous conditions on freeways due to the presence of tractors. One freeway had to be shut down entirely due to an asbestos fire. Police also had to ensure the safety of firefighters, who were obstructed and harassed. Two arrests were made on Tuesday morning in connection with the protests for dumping garbage and committing arson.

The Minister of Justice and Security, Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius, emphasised that any protester endangering public safety would face legal repercussions. While demonstrations are permissible within the bounds of the law, Police Chief Gert condemned the unlawful acts committed during these protests as unacceptable.

The unrest among Dutch farmers echoes similar sentiments expressed in other European countries. Joining a broader movement that originated in France, farmers in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania and Greece have also staged demonstrations against the EU’s green policies. The EU Green Deal outlines a comprehensive framework aimed at regulating agricultural practices to be more climate- and environmentally friendly. It imposes strict requirements on greenhouse gas emissions, pesticide use and sustainability.

In response to the protests, Ursula von Der Leyen announced the withdrawal of the Sustainable Use Regulation on Tuesday, primarily aimed at halving the use of pesticides by 2030. This follows measures proposed by the European Commission last week aimed at calming farmer protests, including limiting agricultural imports from Ukraine and easing the requirement for a minimum share of land fallow to receive EU farm support payments.