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Farmers' protest: 1,000 tractors expected in Brussels today

09:12 03/03/2023

At least 1,000 tractors are expected to take to Brussels' streets this Friday as part of a protest against Flanders’ agricultural policy.

Farmers and horticultural workers will be coming to the Belgian capital from a number of Flemish provinces, Bruzz reports, converging at the centre of the capital for a 10km-long procession.

Authorities say to expect significant traffic disruption as a result, not only in the city centre but also for those driving into the Brussels region.

“We advise you to use public transport,” police said. People looking to avoid the disruption can follow the procession live at after logging in with the username ‘actie’ and the password ‘brussel’.

The tractors will be entering the city via secondary roads, as such vehicles are banned from highways, and are expected to arrive at the Avenue du Port around 11.30.

The plan is to honk their horns en masse as they move through the city with a police escort.

The protesting agricultural workers are expected to leave Brussels between 14.00 and 14.30.

The main gripe with Flemish agricultural policy lies in the region’s nitrogen plan, which calls on farmers to significantly cut back on emissions that they argue are unavoidable if the country is to continue producing enough food to meet demand.

They also point out that the cuts they are being asked to make will cause "a socio-economic bloodbath" in the agricultural sector, forcing companies and family operations to deliberately reduce outputs and therefore their own income.

Unions have also said that the policy is hypocritical, considering similar concessions are not being demanded of sectors that produce equal or even more nitrogen emissions.

They are asking for a total reevaluation of the nitrogen plan. And immediate approval of the Flemish Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), saying that until there is clarity on the rules to be laid out in the CAP, farmers cannot start their field operations and crops.

Written by Helen Lyons