Over 70% of Poles support nationwide farmer protests, survey reveals

Tractors with a sing reading "We want to eat Polish bread!" line up to block a road near the German border in Swiecko at Slubice, Poland, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

More than 72 percent of Polish citizens have thrown their support behind the farmer protests that have swept the nation, according to the latest survey results.

The poll, conducted by IBRiS pollster for the paper Rzeczpospolita, found that 51.6 percent of respondents strongly support the demonstrations, with an additional 21.2 percent somewhat in favor. Only about 10 percent of those surveyed express strong opposition to the protests.

This widespread support comes even as farmers have caused significant disruptions, including blocking major roads and, in some instances, clashing with police. The protests have been contentious, with actions such as throwing paving stones at police officers and obstructing ambulance routes drawing criticism.

Marcin Duma, from IBRiS, suggests that the robust backing for the protesting farmers stems from two main concerns among the Polish populace: fear of the European Green Deal and growing resentment towards Ukrainians.

“Support for the demonstrations is a proxy for expressing critical views of the European Green Deal and a safe way to manifest anti-Ukrainian sentiments,” Duma explained. He believes that Poles view Ukrainians as competitors, despite the ongoing war against a common enemy, and perceive the authorities in Kyiv as ungrateful. Supporting the protests, according to Duma, offers a “safe path” to bypass political correctness and indirectly target Ukraine.

Rzeczpospolita also highlights another factor contributing to the strong public support for the agricultural sector: the increasing importance of food security in turbulent times. The plight of farmers is seen through the lens of personal security, garnering greater sympathy and backing from society.

The high level of support for the agricultural demonstrations might come as a surprise to residents of Warsaw and other major cities, frequently caught in traffic jams caused by the protests. However, sociologists say they are not shocked by these findings, as such attitudes have been evident in their research for some time.

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