Farmers Block Roads Across France

They are protesting low wages and what they consider to be excessive regulation.

Farmers block a highway during a demonstration near Beauvais, France, Jan. 23, 2024.
Farmers block a highway during a demonstration near Beauvais, France, Jan. 23, 2024.
AP Photo/Matthieu Mirville

PARIS (AP) β€” French farmers staged protests Wednesday across the country and in Brussels against low wages and what they consider to be excessive regulation, mounting costs and other problems.

Roadblocks were spreading in many French regions, one day after a farmer and her daughter died due to a traffic collision at a protest barricade.

Farmers have also been turning road signs upside down to protest what they argue are nonsensical agricultural policies.

Some were planning to protest in Brussels, home to EU headquarters, where French farmers' union Rural Coordination called for a demonstration against the "ever-increasing constraints of European regulations and ever-lower incomes."

The protests are the first major challenge for newly appointed Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who took office two weeks ago, and his government. Attal met with farmers' unions representatives on Tuesday.

Following the meeting, Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau promised to make new proposals to respond to the crisis by the end of the week, including regarding food prices and simplifying regulations.

Arnaud Rousseau, head of France's major farmers union FNSEA, said his organization would release a list of 40 necessary measures later on Wednesday. Speaking on France 2 television, he said the protest movement was aimed at "getting quick results."

On Tuesday, a car carrying three people rammed into a barricade of straw bales in the town of Pamiers, in the Ariège region of southwestern France. A 36-year-old female farmer was killed. Her 12-year-old daughter died later in hospital, the local prosecutor said in a statement.

Police detained the three occupants of the car for questioning.

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