Defying ban, tractors head to The Hague for farmers’ protest | Dutch farmer protests: a European test case
Farmers are driving tractors toward The Hague in defiance of a ban on the heavy vehicles imposed ahead of a protest against the Dutch government’s plan to reduce nitrate emissions.
The municipality imposed an emergency order in the city on a day when thousands of farmers were set to gather in a park and environmental activists from the Extinction Rebellion group were also planning a protest action on a major road. Authorities placed army trucks near some crossroads ready to block the streets if tractors tried to drive into the city center.
The demonstrations come days before Dutch voters go to the polls in provincial elections Wednesday that indirectly also elect the national parliament’s upper house and could have an effect on proposals for reducing nitrate pollution.
The farmers also are protesting government policies on child welfare benefits and the treatment of residents in the northern province of Groningen whose homes have been damaged by earthquakes caused by decades of natural gas extraction.
Rotterdam broadcaster Rijnmond showed video of a convoy of tractors crossing the city’s Erasmus Bridge early Saturday, apparently on their way to The Hague. One of the tractors was emblazoned with a banner saying in Dutch “#proudofthefarmer.”
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