Hundreds of farmers protested outside the European Parliament building in Brussels yesterday as lawmakers gathered for a summit. Demonstrators blocked roads with over 1,000 tractors, toppled a statue, set fires, launched fireworks, and threw eggs (see video).
The protest joined dozens more across some of Europe's major cities, where thousands of farmers have gathered in recent weeks to protest their economic conditions. Activists are calling for increased wages, tax relief, reductions in environmental rules, and protection from cheap food imports, among others. Nearly 80 protesters were arrested in France after 10,000 farmers gathered, blocking main arteries with tractors. Several major supermarkets called for an end to the protests Thursday to allow disrupted food supply chains to reopen.
European Union lawmakers appeared to concede to farmers Wednesday when they agreed to delay a proposed rule requiring farmers not to cultivate 4% of their arable land to allow for soil regeneration.