French farmers threaten nationwide protests after blocking highways and spraying government buildings with manure

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Protests by farmers in the Occitanie region of southern France continued on Jan. 21, and the A64 highway remains closed near Toulouse for the fourth day in a row.

The farmers are also reportedly planning to install a roadblock on another undisclosed main road in the region. In recent months, farmers in the Occitanie region have stepped up their efforts to get the government to urgently release substantial aid, particularly due to rising fuel prices and a cattle disease that has hit farmers hard. The farmers are also asking for a water policy favorable to crop irrigation.

In Carbonne, about 45 kilometers southwest of Toulouse, protesters continue to staff a makeshift camp set up on the highway to Bayonne.

At an almost three-hour meeting on Saturday afternoon, the prefect of Occitania, Pierre-André Durand, and five representatives of the farming community failed to reach a decision on lifting the blockade, much to Pierre-André Durand’s “regret.”

A roadblock was also expected to be set up at a roundabout in Tarascon-sur-Ariège on Sunday from 2:00 p.m.

“Major traffic problems are expected in both directions,” the department’s prefect warned. France’s largest agricultural union, FNSEA, is considering nationwide protests in the coming weeks, a spokesman said Friday, potentially extending the actions of farmers in the southwest of the country who blocked a highway and threw manure on public buildings.

Like their German counterparts, who staged a massive demonstration last weekend, with tractors driving to Berlin from all corners of the country, French farmers are protesting mainly over taxes and government restrictions.

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