French farmers escalate protests, prompting massive security response in Paris

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, speaking after an emergency meeting on Sunday, announced the deployment of 15,000 police officers, primarily in the Paris region.

French farmers escalate protests, prompting massive security response in Paris
AP Photo/Matthieu Mirville
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The French Interior Ministry has initiated a significant deployment of security forces in and around Paris in response to escalating tensions with farmers. The move comes as farmers intensify their protests, demanding better compensation for their produce, reduced bureaucracy, and protection from cheap imports.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, speaking after an emergency meeting on Sunday, announced the deployment of 15,000 police officers, primarily in the Paris region.

The minister emphasized the necessity of preventing blockades at critical supply points, including the Rungis International Market and Paris airports. Security forces have been instructed to prohibit any farmer convoys from entering Paris and other major cities, with helicopter surveillance planned for monitoring tractor convoys.

Darmanin warned of potential disruptions, advising car and truck drivers to prepare for blockades. He indicated that all eight highways leading to Paris might be blocked from midday Monday.

The protests, originating from the Rural Coordination union in the Lot-et-Garonne region, involve plans to use tractors to head towards the Rungis International Market on Monday. Adding to the pressure, France's two largest farmers' unions announced their members in the Paris vicinity would attempt to block major roads to the capital. Their aim is to effectively put the city "under siege," starting Monday afternoon.

This development marks a significant escalation in the farmers' protests, reflecting deepening frustrations within the agricultural sector. The response from the French government underscores the seriousness of the situation and the potential impact on the nation's capital.

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  • By Sheila Gunn Reid

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