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Punches, fights and whistles... The Agricultural Show opens in a very tense atmosphere

2024-02-24T08:52:06.529Z

Highlights: Dozens of demonstrators forced a gate and confronted the security service inside the Agricultural Show. At the same time, the president is elsewhere in the living room, safe, around a table to meet with union officials. Members of the majority unions, especially in major cereal crops, were furious to learn that the Elysée wanted to have them debate on Saturday. “It’s a unique meeting place”: The Agricultural Show, anchored in the hearts of the French and the agenda of the political world.


IN PICTURES - Dozens of demonstrators forced a gate and confronted the security service inside the Agricultural Show, while Emmanuel Macron arrived on site to meet unions.


The demonstrators entered the Agricultural Show without being searched before the official opening, including exasperated farmers from the Rural Coordination, the FNSEA and the Young Farmers, recognizable by their distinctive flags and caps.

Looking for the President of the Republic in the aisles, they came to blows with the police who were trying to stop them, and blows were exchanged.

Many CRS were suddenly deployed inside and the demonstrators were contained, but the whistles and boos were deafening.

“Give it back!”

, protesters shout.

“Macron resign!”

some chant.

At the same time, the president is elsewhere in the living room, safe, around a table to meet with union officials.

“The hunt for Macron is on!”

FNSEA activists chanted.

"Where is he?"

some shout.

In the early morning, the president of the majority union FNSEA declared that he wanted to

“listen to what the president has to tell us in a form of respect for the framework”

.

This

“may sometimes be a little tense

,” added the union official, who is also chairman of the board of directors of the industrial giant Avril.

“We are waiting for very clear answers, a very clear vision.

He has all the keys in hand to provide answers.

It’s up to him to play, it’s up to him to give this agriculture a real direction

,” added his counterpart from the allied Young Farmers’ Union (JA), Arnaud Gaillot.

Also read “It’s a unique meeting place”: the Agricultural Show, anchored in the hearts of the French and the agenda of the political world

Members of the FNSEA and the JA spent the night on the esplanade in front of the exhibition center.

Some slept on straw, others in buses.

French presidents typically spend hours, if not the entire day, at the Salon, and incidents are not unusual.

Nicolas Sarkozy had said

“Get lost, then, poor bastard!”

in 2008 to a man who refused to shake his hand.

François Hollande was booed and insulted by breeders in 2016.

“With us, the guys are calm, proud to be there, in a friendly spirit.

Inside, we can't manage

,” because there won't be

“only guys from our area

,” the secretary general of the FNSEA, Hervé Lapie, told AFP.

"Arm of honor"

The crisis, which had been brewing since the fall, exploded from January 18, leading to two weeks of highway blockages, finally lifted on February 1.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal made several bursts of announcements on dozens of subjects: pesticides, standards, administrative simplifications, aid to breeders or wine growers, controls in supermarkets against fraud on the French origin of products, new law enshrining agriculture as a fundamental interest of the nation...

Environmental NGOs denounce an ecological decline, in particular on pesticides whose use will no longer be measured as before, but their speech against intensive agriculture, like that of the anti-globalization union Confédération paysanne, is barely audible in the face of the existential protests of farmers .

They agreed to unblock the roads because they appreciate that their demands are starting to be taken into account by the executive.

But they continue to demand rapid and concrete actions to improve their income and meet their demand for dignity.

Read alsoAgricultural Show: the Élysée gets its feet wet with its “great debate”

The members of the majority unions, especially in major cereal crops, were furious to learn that the Elysée wanted to have them debate on Saturday, among other NGOs, with the radical collective of the Uprisings of the Earth, which had distinguished itself in March 2023 during a day of clashes around an artificial water reservoir site in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres) and which the government failed to dissolve.

“The president, he gave us a huge arm of honor yesterday so, what we are waiting for now is for him to announce things,”

Vincent Bouvrain, a farmer in Seine-et-Marne, explained on Friday in the Parisian demonstration of the FNSEA.

The idea of ​​a major debate, based on the model of those organized at the time of the

“yellow vest”

crisis , therefore came to an end, leading to its cancellation on Friday evening.

It remains to be seen how long Emmanuel Macron will stay

“in contact”

with the participants at the Show.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2024-02-24

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