Massive mobilization of French farmers: evacuation of the last large dams by the police

A decline, not the epilogue: farmers in France, epicenter of the peasant revolt in Europe, lifted their last blockades on Saturday February 3 after the measures announced in Paris and Brussels

Massive mobilization of French farmers: evacuation of the last large dams by the police

A decline, not the epilogue: farmers in France, epicenter of the peasant revolt in Europe, lifted their last blockades on Saturday February 3 after the measures announced in Paris and Brussels. But others, in Spain or Italy, are continuing the mobilization.

The last two blockades of the Confédération Paysanne, including that of the Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère) toll booth on the A43 – occupied since Tuesday – were on Saturday February 3 in the process of being lifted by the police in consultation with the Peasant Confederation. “The demonstrators are in the process of evacuating the premises, there was a dialogue between demonstrators and the police. Everything takes place in consultation,” declared the Isère prefecture to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Cleaning operations will be able to begin, according to the same source.

The demonstrators present on site will “try to go out with dignity and singing,” a Rhône farmer told AFP. “Around fifty gendarmes are on site, everything is happening calmly and peacefully. We’re going to leave the place clean.” “We resisted as best we could, we are the only ones who called to continue the fight,” she added.

Around 80 farmers, who had been blocking the Leclerc purchasing center for the Grand Ouest since Monday evening, in Saint-Etienne-de-Montluc (Loire-Atlantique), were also in the process of being evacuated on Saturday. “We are in the process of being evacuated by the police, who came with great resources. We are being dislodged even though we were completely peaceful,” laments Jean-François Guitton, secretary general of the Loire-Atlantique Peasant Confederation, specifying: “There is not a trace of our passage left, we are leaving the place intact . »

The A43 and SCA West roadblocks were the last two held by the Confédération paysanne, according to a spokesperson for the agricultural union, which had called for continued mobilization this weekend to denounce the government's agricultural policy .

According to a decree published on Saturday, the government has once again authorized certain road carriers to travel exceptionally during the weekend. “This decree lifts, from Saturday February 3, 2024 to Monday February 5, 2024, the bans on the circulation of goods transport vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes”, we can read in the text published in the Official Journal.

The renewal of this exceptional authorization, already granted by the government for last weekend, must “allow the completion of transport operations started before Saturday February 3 at 10 p.m., as well as the return of road drivers whose transport operations transport were disrupted by the traffic difficulties caused by the farmers' demonstrations", it is further specified.

Traffic had already resumed on Friday on several highways in France after two weeks of blockages by thousands of farmers and major government concessions, in particular regarding pesticides, to the great dismay of environmentalists. The strategic highway in the south of France, the A7, which was cut for 130 kilometers since January 23, has reopened. The convoy which had gone from Agen towards the Paris region turned back. And no more blockages have been recorded in Ile-de-France, a police source confirmed.

Around Lyon, the roadblocks were, for the most part, dispersed on Friday. In Hauts-de-France, all the roadblocks are lifted, and no action called by the regional section of the FNSEA is planned in the coming days, its president, Simon Ammeux, told AFP. “The ultimatum is given at the [Agricultural] Show,” he warned. The tractors which blocked the A1 near Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport “[were] on their way home on Friday”, according to him.

In Occitania, once the epicenter of the protest movement, but losing momentum since the arrival of Gabriel Attal a week ago, the new series of announcements has led to the lifting – immediate or near – of several roadblocks, notably in Aveyron and Gers.

On Thursday, the majority union alliance – FNSEA-Jeunes Agriculteurs (JA) – called “to suspend the blockades and enter into a new form of mobilization”. The FNSEA wants, in fact, to see the realization of the first measures by the Agricultural Show, and a law by June, its president, Arnaud Rousseau, declared on Friday. “If ultimately we were not considered, or if all this was just a flash in the pan, we will do it again,” he added on BFM-TV/RMC.

The Rural Coordination, the second representative union, has, for its part, “invited” its members to “suspend” the actions. “The farming world will remain mobilized in the run-up to the Agricultural Show and with the greatest vigilance regarding the progress expected at the national and European level,” said the organization in a press release.

The third union, the Confédération paysanne, remains mobilized, because “the fundamental question of income” is “still not taken head-on by the government”.

As for organic farmers, they “feel like they are being left behind in the negotiations”, deplores their federation, the FNAB, which estimates the sector's losses at 550 million euros over two years, and for whom “the suspension of Ecophyto is just another drop in the bucket of disillusionment.”

The International Agricultural Show (SIA), organized in Paris from February 24 to March 3, will perhaps be the occasion for “exchanges a little more muscular than usual, perhaps invectives” with the political leaders, “but it will remain a place of exchange”, assured its president, Jean-Luc Poulain, on Saturday on RMC radio.

Regarding the measures put on the table by the government to appease the anger of farmers, Jean-Luc Poulain recognized: “Yes, there are relief measures which are more intended for plant production than animal production, that It's true. However, the fight is for everyone. And then, it's not finished. »