Young farmers to block port of Antwerp, seeking essential sector recognition

A delegation of young farmers confirmed on Monday evening that they would occupy the access roads to the port of Antwerp on Tuesday. They say they are doing this to be recognised as an essential sector, like the port is.

"So far we have not been sufficiently recognised as an essential sector," the demonstrators say. "With this action, we want to show our persistence and put sustained pressure on the political negotiations that followed previous protests."

Tuesday's action will be organised by farmers from all over Flanders with no political or trade union links. The plan is to set up filter blockades around the port.

"We are more than fed up with the fact that N-VA [the party of Flemish minister president Jan Jambon] in particular keeps fuelling the polarisation between nature and agriculture, thereby unnecessarily complicating any conversation between the protagonists," the message says. "Our young farmers are the key to a sustainable future. We do not rule out marathon actions if politicians continue to put the importance of the sector ahead of themselves."

In a meeting with farmers earlier on Monday, the Flemish government attempted to stave off another major protest at the port, after previous blockades had caused significant economic damage. In recent weeks, farmers have mainly targeted Zeebrugge, the Waaslandhaven, the Noordzee terminal and the area around German chemical giant BASF.


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