Watch: Polish police unleash wave of violence on farmers protesting in Warsaw, PM Tusk comes under pressure

By John Cody
3 Min Read

The Polish capital of Warsaw descended into violence today as police unleashed a wave of violence on Polish farmers, with viral videos showing officers deploying batons, pepper spray and tear gas against the country’s food producers.

Thousands of protesters, waving Polish flags, were pushed back by police after a small group of them burned tires in front of the office of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Such violence against protesters is rare in Poland. The farmers are demanding an end to imports of cheap Ukrainian agricultural products that are sinking the price they can command on the market, while at the same time calling for an end to costly green regulations.

Some protesters featured a sign on a coffin that read: “Farmer, lived 20 years, killed by the Green Deal” 

“I want to be a farmer, not a slave to Brussels,” read another banner.

Polish farmers, hunters, and their supporters hold a protest in Warsaw, Poland, on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. The protest ratchets up pressure on the government as they demand the Poland-Ukraine border closed to food imports and demand changes to European Union climate and agricultural policies. (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk)

The farmers, who marched in Warsaw just last week, were this time backed by Poland’s biggest labor union, NSZZ Solidarnos. In addition, hunters, truckers, miners, and forestry workers marched with them, which swelled the crowd into the thousands.

One dramatic video showed the arrest of one protester, with a Polish flag ripped from his arms and tossed to the ground. Police say they detained dozens throughout the day.

The protests are sure to tarnish the image of Donald Tusk and his government, as the farmers enjoy broad support in the country. MEP Dominik Tarczyński, from the Law and Justice party (PiS), posted to X highlighting one arrest, writing simply: “Flag on the ground…”

The extreme bout of police violence against the farmers may fuel further protests over the coming months, as rage builds against Tusk. He has invited farmer leaders for talks on Saturday, but so far the concessions he has offered the farmers have only been met with more blockades and rage on the streets.

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