Hundreds of farmers drive tractors into Paris to protest government policies

Hundreds of farmers drive tractors into Paris to protest government policies
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Hundreds of French farmers drove their tractors into Paris on Wednesday to protest government policies they claim are hurting their businesses.

Two of the main farmers' unions organized the countrywide protest, calling for members to meet in the capital city’s Avenue Foch, near the iconic Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, outlet France 24 reported.

Lines of tractors were seen driving into the city, waving flags and carrying signs including one that reportedly read: “The government is leaving us exposed, let us work.”

Police were seen controlling crowds of protesters who had blocked Parisian streets with cars, people and hay bales.

The protest is meant to draw the attention of French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronCountries reach agreement in Berlin on Libya cease-fire push, arms embargo 5 reasons why US-Europe tensions will grow in the 2020s — and how to stop it Judd Gregg: The Iranian lessons MORE, with signs asking him to respond to complaints of “agri-bashing" in France, which is one of the largest agricultural producers in the European Union.

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Farmers argue government policies, such as Macron’s push to ban the common weedkiller glyphosate by 2021, are hurting the agriculture industry.

Some told France 24 that farms and butcher shops have even been attacked by vegan activists calling for greater animal welfare.

“We’re the new scapegoats. As soon as something goes wrong, it’s the farmers’ fault,” Jean-Yves Bricourt, leader of the main FNSEA union in the administrative department of Aisne, told Reuters. “We’re treated like criminals."

The farmers group also says that international trade deals with Canada and the Mercosur bloc of South American countries will threaten their livelihoods by increasing imports of cheaper agricultural goods.