Thousands of Dutch farmers protested on Saturday against the government’s policies to reduce nitrogen emissions, warning they will put farms out of business and affect food production.
Hundreds of tractors from across the Netherlands could be seen driving to the event in The Hague ahead of regional elections this week, and more than 10,000 farmers were in attendance, according to the Reuters news agency.
Protesters accused the Dutch government of forcing farmers off of privately owned land in order to appease Brussels, and carried banners reading “No farmers, no food” and “There is no nitrogen ‘problem.’”
Tens of thousands of people turned up for the Dutch farmers protest.
Stand for freedom. pic.twitter.com/lAUW1QuqhV
— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) March 11, 2023
“We are fighting against a corrupt and unjust government,” Eva Vlaardingerbroek, a prominent campaigner in defense of the farmers, told attendees. She spoke of a government that “drives our farmers from their land” and which has “turned on its own population.”
“For centuries, our farmers have produced food for millions of people worldwide. And instead of what those liars in The Hague claim, they have done so in a responsible and sustainable way.”
🇳🇱Our farmers are fighting against the worst kind of injustice: a government that has turned on its own people.
The government created a lie to rob our farmers of their land. But we won’t let it happen. Our #DutchFarmers are an example to the world.
My speech with 🇬🇧 subtitles. pic.twitter.com/QYiFbkR2zM
— Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar) March 11, 2023
“But our cabinet doesn’t care about nature. They have simply created a lie to steal our farmers’ land,” she added.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s administration has vowed to take radical action to meet its ambitious target of halving the country’s nitrogen emissions by 2030, and has identified the country’s large agriculture sector as being the main culprit due to its large livestock count and use of fertilizers.
Last year, the government announced plans to reduce livestock numbers by a third, while farmers have also been told their land could be subject to compulsory buyouts.
Agricultural workers have staged several demonstrations against the government policy, blocking motorways and supermarket distribution centers in mass protests last year.