New farmers protest to target ports

A new protest by farmers will target ports in Flanders on 14 March. Farmers will once again block the ports of Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Ghent in protest against agricultural policy and Flanders' nitrogen decree. The port of Antwerp-Bruges is considering legal action.

United Young Farmers, organisers of the upcoming protest, intend to implement filter blockages at the ports to draw attention to the nitrogen agreement. “The nitrogen decree continues to exist even though the Council of State has issued negative advice twice," says the organisation's spokesperson, Benedikt Sas.

"The entire nitrogen approach is based on very dubious scientific figures and models with a huge margin of error. That is no basis at all for causing a social massacre in agriculture, which we will still need.”

Legal action

"We are not going to let this happen again. I understand the concerns of our farmers, but you sit around the table and negotiate," said Antwerp councillor and chair of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges Annick De Ridder (N-VA). "That is what the majority of farmers have done. It is unacceptable that after the agreement has been concluded, a group of radicals is moving towards the port again."

De Ridder has threatened legal action against the groups. "We will go to court if necessary, identify those who violate the law (read: close roads and businesses and prevent the passage of goods and our employees) and recover maximum damages from all those who close our port as a crucial infrastructure," she said. "We are also calling on the federal level, with responsibility for the police, to take action this time."

Farmers across Europe have been protest for months. At the end of February, over 900 farmers descended on Brussels, resulting in fires, blocked roads and increased tension between protestors and police.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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