French farmers aim to put Paris ‘under siege’ in tractor protest

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France said it would push to ease European Union environmental regulations on fallow farmland this week, as tractors blocked major highways out of Paris on Monday and nationwide farmers’ protests intensified.

The French government on Friday dropped plans to gradually reduce state subsidies on agricultural diesel and promised a reduction in red tape and an easing of environmental regulations, but farmers’ organizations said that was not enough and pledged to step up the pressure.

The head of France’s biggest farming organization said farmers would block all major highways out of Paris at about 18 miles from the center. In Brussels too, traffic on the ring road around the capital was disrupted by angry farmers.

“What we have understood is that as long as the protest is far from Paris, the message is not getting through,” Arnaud Rousseau, head of the FNSEA union, said on RTL radio.

France’s two biggest farmers unions said in a statement that their members based in areas surrounding the Paris region would seek to block all major roads to the capital, with the aim of putting the city “under siege,” starting Monday afternoon.

Taxi drivers were also protesting in several French cities over new tariffs for medical transport, which could add to traffic chaos in Paris.

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