Monday, January 08, 2024

German Farmers' Day Of Protest Causes Chaos Nationwide

Farmers' tractor protest blocks the road through the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Germany's government district (picture via DW)


As yesterday's Boggart Abroad story predicted Greman farmers today launched a week of protest when hundreds of tractors and agricltural vehicles invaded the city and blocked streets and main roads in protests against proposed cuts to the agricultural budget which would been reduced subsidies to farmers. The farmers piled on the misery for Chancellor Olaf Scholz's fragile coalition coalition as it struggles to hold together a fragile coalition which includes the Green Party who want to abolish farming altogether and go back to a hunter - gatherer economy (that may be an exaggeration, but only a slight one,) and the Free Democrats, a pro - business party which supports market economics and unrestrained capitalism.

The government is also trying to contain the burgeoning popularity of the AfD (Alternatif fur Deutschland,) and anti - open borders and EU sceptic party, having failed to dent AfD's ride by smearing them as 'far right'. The calition's latest move it that they have, somewhat idiotically, put in motion moved to have AfD banned as a danger to democracy, thus identifying the governing coalition itself as a danger to democracy.

Convoys of tractors and trucks today gathered on roads around Berlin and most of the 16 federal states, in sub-zero temperatures in while protesters clashed with police and senior politicians warned that the unrest could encourage extremism.

The protests have so far forced Scholz's deeply unpopular government into promising policy changes to head off further unrest on the unrest while sticking to fiscal discipline after a constitutional court ruling in November threw its spending plans into disarray.

Needless to say these protests have been played down by German mainstream media and hardly reported outside Germany except by the alt_news community

"No beer without farmers," read one protest banner, while another tractor had a poster from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that read "Our farmers come first."

Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who was prevented from leaving a ferry as he returned from holiday last week when furious farmers tried to storm the vessel he was on, warned in a video message on Monday that farmers' right to protest could be exploited by fringe groups but thus has become a regular theme from EU member state governments facing mass dissent as they try to impose the extremist policies imposed by Brussels.

Farmers called the protests in response to the government's decision to phase out a tax break on agricultural diesel as it tries to bring its 2024 budget over the finish line while complying with the constitutional court ruling.

"For a farm like mine, I would lose about 10,000 euros," said a farmer from Bavaria, Ralf Huber. "For our businesses, it's a catastrophe."

The AfD party, preparing to launch campaigns in a string of federal state elections later this year, is supporting the protests, claiming it proves German voters dissatisfaction with current government and hoping to make enough gains to be able to force the Scholz administration to resign.

Hermann Blinkert at the German Institute for New Social Answers (INSA) said the government was in deep scheiss because will look weak if it u-turns on cutting farm subsidies, but will appear to have lost control if the dispute continues.

"The government has the problem that it has already gambled away the trust of the population," Blinkert said.



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