Nfter weeks of sometimes violent protests against environmental regulations in the Netherlands, the most radical farmers’ organization has announced a temporary end to the harsh actions. As a “sign of good will”, for the time being only peaceful demonstrations should be held, for example with flags and protest signs, said the leader of the Farmers Defense Force (FDF), Mark van den Oever, in a video message on Thursday. The group hopes that the government will withdraw its plans after this gesture.
After a ruling by the highest court, the government presented plans to drastically reduce nitrogen emissions. In order to protect the natural areas, emissions must be reduced by half by 2030. According to government calculations, this could mean the end of 30 percent of livestock farms, which are the biggest culprit. The Netherlands is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products in the world.
In protest, farmers had blocked motorways and border crossings to Germany, started fires and dumped manure, rubbish and asbestos on the streets. Supermarket warehouses were blocked and politicians threatened. Moderate farmers’ associations had condemned these actions because they would endanger people.
Just last week, FDF had announced the “toughest actions ever” and threatened an escalation after the government failed to make any concessions in a first round of talks.