This Is Quite the Demonstration

Hundreds of angry farmers converge on Brussels' center, disrupt traffic, make their beef known
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2023 12:17 PM CST
This Is Quite the Demonstration
Farmers with their tractors block traffic on a road in the center of Brussels, during a demonstration, Friday, March 3, 2023. Hundreds of tractors driven by angry farmers protesting a plan to cut nitrate levels drove into Belgium's capital city on Friday causing major traffic disruption.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Hundreds of tractors driven by angry farmers protesting a plan to cut nitrate levels converged on Brussels Friday, creating major traffic disruption in Belgium's capital city. The BB farmers union and several others combined efforts to gather more than 2,700 farm vehicles, according to Brussels police. Several major roads in Brussels were closed and police warned that disruptions could last until the end of the day, recommending that people use public transportation instead of personal cars, per the AP.

The Flemish regional government is struggling to find a deal to cut nitrate pollution over farmers’ objections that it would put many out of business. Farmers also claim that their trade has to make much deeper cuts than industry and want to see a more equitable spread. Negotiations have lingered for weeks and weakened the regional government of northern Belgium to breaking point. The debate over agricultural pollution is increasingly turning into a political issue in many of the EU’s farming nations. It is to be a focal point of Dutch elections in two weeks’ time and is also affecting Belgium, another EU nation where intensive farming has put environmentalists against the agricultural lobby.

(Read more Belgium stories.)

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