Published On: Tue, Jan 16th, 2024

Germany in chaos as 10,000-strong farmers’ protest brings Berlin to a standstill | World | News


The anger of German farmers is far from quashed in the wake of the week-long blockade they held which affected almost the whole of Germany.

Rather, on January 15, thousands of workers pledged to descend on Berlin, with 10,000 farmers and 5,000 tractors expected to show up near the Brandenburg Gate, just metres away from the German parliament.

The farmers’ fury was prompted by the beleaguered coalition government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In a bid to fix a hole in the 2024 budget left after the German constitutional court declared the draft submitted illegal, the government announced it would cut farmers’ subsidies.

The move has proven deeply unpopular and saw last week the gathering in major roads up and down Germany of thousands of trucks and tractors blocking the traffic.

The protesters expected in central Berlin on January 15 will join forces with those who have already been spending several cold days and nights camped out in the capital.

Among the farmers taking their rage to the streets is Tim, who parked his tractor 200 metres away from the world’s famous Brandenburg Gate. The front of his vehicle displays a banner reading: “Free farmers”.

He told FranceInfo: “We’re angry because we’re in danger of losing our jobs. The politicians don’t know what they’re doing, they’re going to destroy German agriculture. They need to get their act together.

The distraught farmer warned the German farming industry is at risk, and pledged: “If it goes on like this, everything will be imported. I’ll stay here for as long as it takes, however long it lasts.”

Tobias Leppin, who is leading the protests in Berlin, also bore similar warnings for the German government, as he said it will be “the end” for many farmers if changes aren’t made.

He also said: “Why are we always picking on farmers? Why should we have to pay more tax? We’re the only ones who can’t dictate our prices, so we can’t compensate.”

Despite the chaos the days-long blockade has sparked across Germany, many in the country including truck drivers are supporting the movement.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has promised to meet the demonstrators on Monday.

Meanwhile, on January 13, Mr Scholz expressed concerns about recent calls for violence. The Chancellor said there are “extremists” seeking to exploit the unhappiness of farmers and turning that into anger and contempt for democracy.

This latest protest comes on the same day as it was reported that electricity network operator TransnetBW has called on citizens in the state of Baden-Württemberg, bordering France and Switzerland, to reduce their electricity consumption due to “heavily used power lines”.



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