Farmers to protest against Flemish nitrogen deal

Farmers Defence Force Belgium is planning a protest in Antwerp on Friday. The protesters plan to descend on the city with tractors to oppose Flanders' approach to curbing nitrogen emissions.

The organisation is a recently formed Belgian branch of the Dutch pressure group of the same name. The Dutch group has been one of the driving forces behind large protests in the Netherlands in recent years. Until now, similar demonstrations in Belgium have been relatively small.

The Belgian branch is now calling for a mass demonstration in Antwerp by tractor or other means. The protest will take place on Friday at noon at the Spoor Oost site, where several speakers will talk about the issue of nitrogen.

Participants will gather in several municipalities in the province of Antwerp to form a convoy towards the city. Another group will gather at Antwerp Central station and march on foot to the protest site.

As in the Netherlands, Flemish plans to curb nitrogen emissions are causing resentment among some farmers. "The countryside is where everyone loves to spend time, but it is in danger of extinction!" a protest announcement reads. "We are more than tired of the show put on by our politicians, and now the masks must come off."

Farmers Defence Force Belgium claims the agricultural sector is being disadvantaged compared to industry in policy plans to reduce nitrogen emissions. For them, a symbolic example of this is the political support for chemical company Ineos' plan to build an ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp. The pressure group also believes the Flemish government is basing its policy on incorrect data on nitrogen emissions.



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