The last road that was still blocked was the A67 near Eersel. At the end of the morning it became known that the farmers had also left on this highway. The road has not yet been cleared. According to spokespeople on site, some activists have not slept for forty hours. No further repayment has been arranged. The spokesperson said that on Tuesday, after a meeting of the Farmers Defense Force, it will become clear where the farmers will take further actions.
The Dutch, most of them Limburg, farmers supported a blockade by angry Belgian farmers, who closed the border crossing on Thursday evening. According to the spokesperson and an ANP photographer on site, the Belgians are also preparing to leave. There are still five tractors on the road and cleaning is underway.
The ANWB previously announced that two other blockages at the border crossing, the A16 at Hazeldonk and the Markiezaat junction (A4), have been lifted and that those roads are free again.
Asbestos plates on the roadside
Rijkswaterstaat announces that a lane of the A1 near Rijssen is also open to traffic again. The road was closed all night as emergency services had to clear away rubbish. This mainly concerned the remains of fires. There were car fires and pallets on fire on the emergency lane and on the verge. Sheets containing asbestos were also found on the verge near the driveway near Holten. A spokesperson for the Twente fire brigade said this. According to the spokesperson, the plates did not burn, so the asbestos did not spread. There were also fires at other locations. Hay bales were set on fire near Utrecht along the A12 near De Meern.
On Friday evening, Farmers Defense Force (FDF) also held a farmers’ protest in Friesland. FDF called for people to gather at various locations along the A7, such as the carpool places at the Afsluitdijk, Bolsward, Sneek, Joure, Heerenveen and Drachten. Around 9 p.m., about 75 tractors started a demonstration on the A7. In Friesland near Drachten, farmers drove onto the A7 and N31. The A7 near Hoorn was closed in both directions for a while. Several farmers also drove around in West Zaan and Zuidoostbeemster.
Farmers Defense Force split up X videos of the protest near Hoorn, where dozens of tractors blocked the highway. The farmers protested, among other things, against European fertilizer rules.
Utrecht: protest at provincial government building
In Utrecht, a group of farmers gathered with tractors at the provincial government building in Utrecht to demonstrate. They arrived with about forty tractors. They presented a letter with important action points to the King’s Commissioner Hans Oosters. According to his spokeswoman, he has agreed to convey the letter to outgoing Agriculture Minister Piet Adema and the Utrecht representative Mirjam Sterk of Nature and Agriculture.
On Friday evening, the police directed farmers driving through Gouda with tractors to the A12 to continue their action on the roadside. About forty tractors were demonstratively parked with their lights on on the platform near the artwork of the two circles at the Goudse Poort. The farmers received permission from the mayor to take action there until 10:30 p.m., says police spokeswoman Chantal Margés. The situation there did not get out of hand.
Major national action
Farmers Defense Force (FDF) hopes that the willingness to take action among farmers will grow in the coming days and more colleagues will join demonstrations in the country. The action group wants to block border roads all weekend and has announced a national protest action next week. The organization says that protesting farmers will hold wild actions until Tuesday, as is currently happening in the border region with Belgium. In a video from Belgium, leader Mark van den Oever says that FDF representatives will meet on Tuesday to prepare a major national action.
“Have we finished hibernation in the Netherlands?” Van den Oever wonders. He warns his supporters that they will have to hand in tens of thousands of euros next year and will have no income left. “If not, you will still have to take action. Otherwise, next year you will just have to slog and lug around reels and pull cow nipples and all for nothing,” says the FDF foreman.
On Tuesday, regional directors of FDF and the leaders of the tractor groups will meet to coordinate the action. The protest would take place next weekend. Van den Oever says he wants to focus on outgoing Agriculture Minister Piet Adema and Member of Parliament Harm Holman of the New Social Contract party.
‘The need is increasing’
Protesting farmers blocked the passage on the A67 highways near Eindhoven and E19/A16 near Breda. FDF called on people to join the actions of their Belgian colleagues that have been going on for several days. In addition, the group sees that spontaneous actions are emerging regionally from ‘people who know each other and the situation in the neighborhood’, according to the spokeswoman. According to her, hundreds of farmers are now taking action in various places. “That number is growing, because the need is increasing.”
There were also about fifty tractors, a handful of which were Dutch, recognizable by their flags, ‘criss-crossing the highway’. Also, as in other places where farmers block roads, large fires were lit on the central and outer shoulders of the highway. Belgian police were also present.
At the beginning of Friday evening, Belgian farmers cleared their blockages, including supermarket distribution centers. They did this after commitments from the Belgian and Flemish governments and the European Commission. Important farmers’ organizations called for the road to be reopened. The thousands of trucks that were stranded in and around the port of Zeebrugge also started moving again. The blockade of the port was lifted on Friday afternoon.
Why are the farmers protesting and what do they want from Brussels? This varies per country, but almost everywhere there is dissatisfaction about at least four points. We list them.
The farmers’ blockades appear to be the most damaging internationally in recent weeks. According to international expert Elmer de Bruin of transport association TLN, the blocked roads between Rotterdam and Antwerp are also important traffic arteries from a European perspective because they connect the major ports of the two cities.
The damage to the transport sector is increasing considerably due to the blockages. Including the disruptive protests in Germany and France in recent weeks, the additional costs for transport companies have already run into hundreds of thousands of euros, De Bruin estimates. “A stationary truck costs approximately 100 euros per hour in extra wages and insurance, among other things. And a journey from the south of France has regularly been delayed by ten to fifteen hours.”
Text continues below the photo
Truck delays also lead to problems further down the chain. “For example, in the port they work with a strict timetable for loading and unloading containers. This is also at risk.” According to the expert, shelves in the Netherlands could also become partly empty next weekend if the blockade continues. In Belgium, stores were not fully supplied on Friday.
De Bruin: “This really shouldn’t last the whole weekend, as the farmers are planning. We are suffering a lot financially from this. We are already in consultation with the ministry and have heard that the top of the ministry is monitoring this very closely. We understand the decision not to escalate, but we still hope that action will be taken as soon as possible.”
Comment can be found at the bottom of this article. Only comments provided with a full name are placed. We do this because we want a debate with people who stand by what they say, and therefore also put their names to it. Anyone who still needs to enter their name can do so by clicking on ‘Login’ at the top right of our site.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss anything from the stars.
Yes, I want free unlimited access