Roughly one thousand tractors have descended on Paris as French farmers protest against government policies and international trade agreements which they say are impacting their bottom line and thus their quality of life.
The frustrated farmers are assembling at Avenue Foch, near the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.
The protest was organized by the two main farmers’ unions who have called for a joint meeting with President Emmanuel Macron to discuss his policies, which they claim are hurting the agricultural sector.
The farmers are also complaining of widespread “agri-bashing” in the media and political spheres, in which the agricultural industry has become the sacrificial lamb for environmental issues.
Vegan activists have reportedly attacked farms and butcher’s shops amid animal welfare concerns, and environmental groups have criticized the use of the weedkiller glyphosate, calling for it to be banned.
Macron has expressed interest in banning the weedkiller by 2021, which would go beyond current EU regulation.
France is the largest agricultural producer in the EU, and its farmers are irate over the bloc’s trade deals with the likes of Canada and the Mercosur bloc in South America, which they say will flood the European market with cheaper goods at lower standards.
Similar protests have been held across Europe in recent days.