Angry farmers block roads around Paris, arrests at Rungis: the important events of Wednesday

Farmers are tightening the screws on Paris and Lyon, negotiations continue. The farmers are getting closer to Paris and the wholesale market of Rungis, despite attempts by the government to alleviate the farmers’ distress and convince the protesters to end their mobilization. Sign of the farmers’ advance towards the capital, gendarmerie armored vehicles were deployed Tuesday evening on the A6 a few kilometers from Rungis, near Chilly-Mazarin (Essonne), where tractors from the FDSEA of Seine-et-Marne are positioned, without incident, according to the police. Although the situation has become somewhat tense at some checkpoints in the Ile-de-France region. Farmers also continue their progression towards Lyon, with the aim of blockading France’s second city. Tractors thus blocked the A89, which connects Lyon to Clermont-Ferrand, at day’s end.

91 arrests after an intrusion attempt and damage at the Rungis market. “Vandalism was committed and it was an unannounced demonstration. Rungis had been given as a red line, there could not have been any other reaction than a reaction by law enforcement to prevent this action,” said the Paris police chief Laurent Nunez, stating that the 91 people have been placed in custody.

“We will not let them” block Rungis and Paris, warns Darmanin. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin defends his position regarding the farmers: “They are not criminals, they do not attack the police and gendarmes (…) they have the right to protest like everyone else, I refuse to send riot police to people who are working,” he reaffirms, while setting “clear lines”: “not to enter Paris, not to block Rungis, not to block the airports, if they were to do so we would not let it happen. This also applies to Lyon.”

Gabriel Attal received the Confédération Paysanne and the Coordination Rurale. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal received the Confédération Paysanne, the third agricultural union, and the Coordination Rurale, the second union, on Wednesday morning at Matignon. The Prime Minister “continues the dialogue” with the unions, he received the spokesperson for the Confédération Paysanne, Laurence Marandola, at 10 am, then at 11:30 am the president of the Coordination Rurale, Véronique Le Floc’h, after having exchanged extensively with the majority union FNSEA on Monday and Tuesday evenings. “The rest of the announcements will be made at the European level,” according to a source within the government, as Emmanuel Macron is set to participate in a European summit on Thursday.

The president of the FNSEA calls for “calm and reason.” FNSEA President Arnaud Rousseau, speaking before the Senate, said on Wednesday that he was trying to “call for calm and reason” in the face of farmers’ anger, noting that many “European issues” do not “get resolved in three days.” While blockades continue across France, M. Rousseau acknowledged that “the expectations are enormous” in the face of the “accumulation of standards and rules.” But “there are also many European issues that are not issues that are resolved in three days. So I am trying to call for calm and reason,” he explained to the Economic Affairs Commission of the upper house.

Fesneau announces 80 million euros in aid for winemakers. Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau announced on Wednesday that the government is putting an additional 80 million euros on the table to support “all the wine-producing regions that are in crisis.” Amid the agricultural crisis, the minister also explained on Sud Radio that the state would take care of “interest payments for 2024” to ease the cash flow of struggling winemakers.

Maire promises a “showdown” to prevent the current EU-Mercosur agreement from being “signed.” Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire promised on Wednesday that France would engage in a “showdown” during negotiations in Brussels to ensure that the EU-Mercosur agreement (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay) “as it stands today is not signed.” “This Mercosur agreement, as it is, is not good for our breeders. It cannot, must not be signed as it is. It will not be signed as it is,” the minister promised on CNews and Europe 1, as France has been shaken for almost two weeks now by angry farmer mobilizations.

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