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Where are farmers blocking traffic around Germany on Monday?

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Where are farmers blocking traffic around Germany on Monday?
A protester at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate with a sign reading 'No beer without farmers'. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Furious farmers opposed to Berlin's plans to cut tax breaks for agriculture used tractors to block roads across Germany on Monday.


Starting Monday and stretching throughout the week, convoys with tractors and rallies are being planned to demonstrate against the German government's agricultural policy. 

Motorway slip roads, or entrance ramps, are a focus of the protests, with organisers in several states having announced their intention to block them. Drivers will therefore have to prepare themselves for traffic jams. 

In Berlin, dozens of tractors and lorries stationed in the city centre blasted their horns to signal their anger at the start of a planned week of action. Tractors had already been stationed at the Brandenburg Gate since Sunday evening.

On Monday morning across the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, farmers blocked motorway slip roads with hundreds of tractors. They were supported by haulage companies protesting against the increase in lorry tolls. 

In the district of Cloppenburg in northwest Lower Saxony, a main road was blocked by 40 vehicles.

In Saxony, according to police, some motorway slip roads in the Dresden area were unusable. There were gatherings on the A4, A13, A14 and A17 motorways. 

The protest also caused disruptions at Germany's borders with France, Poland and the Czech Republic, causing traffic to back up at crossing points, according to local media and German police.

READ ALSO: 'We don't get enough money': Furious farmers stage Germany-wide tractor blockades

farmer protests

A convoy of hundreds of agricultural vehicles blocks the Jann-Bergahus bridge in Lower Saxony on Monday morning. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lars Penning

The mass protests come as Germany deals with a 'strike week' of action. The German Train Drivers' Union has announced a three-day train strike from Wednesday. 


Who and where else will be affected?

The Farmers' Association is planning a week of protest, culminating in a demonstration in Berlin on January 15th. Numerous industrial action, from Flensburg to Lake Constance has already been announced for Monday. 

Protests are planned in the greater Hamburg, Bremen, Potsdam, Magdeburg, Halle, Rhine-Main and Saarland areas. 

farmers berlin

Farmers gather at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Monday morning. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Demonstrations are also planned in Munich, Erfurt and Ravensburg in southern Baden-Württemberg.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, larger gatherings are planned in Cologne, Bonn, east of Dortmund and in Münster.

Several state ministries of education have said that pupils will be excused if they cannot make it to class because of the protests.


Why are the protests occurring?

Farmers have been up in arms over government plans to withdraw tax breaks for the agricultural sector this year.

Thousands travelled to Berlin to protest the move in December, blocking roads with their tractors and dumping manure on the street.

The display persuaded the government to partially walk back the planned subsidy cuts last Thursday.

A discount on vehicle tax for agriculture would remain in place, while a diesel subsidy would be phased out over several years instead of being abolished immediately, the government said.

The agriculture sector however said the move did not go far enough and urged the government to completely reverse the plans, announced after a shock court ruling forced the government to find savings in the budget for 2024.

Meanwhile, there was outrage on Thursday night after a group of farmers tried to storm a ferry with Robert Habeck, Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor aboard, leaving him stranded. 

READ ALSO: Angry farmers try to storm ferry with Vice Chancellor aboard


What's the reaction?

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser criticised the planned blockades by farmers.

"Anyone who blocks other people who have to get to work, school or the doctor in a hurry in their everyday lives is first and foremost causing anger and a lack of understanding," the SPD politician told the Rheinische Post newspaper on Monday.

The Farmers' Association appealed to participants at the weekend to refrain from demonstrating in front of politicians' homes or engaging in personal hostilities following the incident with Green politician Habeck.

Representatives of the German government made it clear that there could be no further concessions after the partial cancellation of its austerity plans - a move that angered many of the protesters.

"We simply can't continue to do business like this. Agriculture is going to  the wall," said Sebastian Schuman, 34, who works in the sector.

Schuman told AFP at the protest in Berlin that he felt "pure anger" when  the cuts were announced after households had been hammered by months of high inflation.

"You have to think about what the consequences are. Food prices are going up. Everything is becoming more expensive," he said.



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