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Dutch farmers resume protests against UN agenda

Hundreds of protesting farmers spent the night on Thursday camped at the Malieveld close to the parliamentary complex in The Hague.

Published: October 18, 2019, 9:08 am

    The Hague

    They plan to resume their campaign against the government’s strategy to make them responsible for alleged nitrogen-based pollution. Some 8 000 tractors made the journey to The Hague, causing traffic chaos and major delays.

    The protests began earlier this month after the Dutch government announced that Dutch livestock farming should be slashed by up to 50 percent to meet commitments on reducing nitrogen emissions while no such restrictions would apply to the aviation industry.

    Some 300 people, both farmers and locals, turned up for the communal breakfast organised by Famers Defence Force, which is behind the protests. Between 20 000 and 25 000 farmers are now thought to have taken part in Wednesday’s protest against the government’s plans to cut nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions.

    Only 75 tractors were allowed into the city by Mayor Pauline Krikke. Also, farmers were not given permission to drive on the highway with tractors.

    Agriculture is responsible for some 40 percent of nitrogen-based pollution, researchers say, but farmers say they have doubts about the way the impact is being calculated and that they are being unfairly singled out.

    Police again took a high-visibility approach and army trucks were being deployed to seal off roads to the Binnenhof parliamentary complex, according to several Dutch media reports. MPs were due to debate the government’s strategy to deal with the alleged excess nitrogen with farm minister Carola Schouten later on Thursday.

    Retired Lt. Robert Powell from Oregon, in the US, told Canada Free Press (CFP): “The media is not noting a very serious Agenda 21 event in the Netherlands.”

    Despite being one of the biggest farmers’ protest in history that took place in the Netherlands, the local and international media all but ignored it.

    “Last year you didn’t hear anything about nitrogen, and now suddenly it’s a mortal question,” farmer Micha Bouwer from the Famers Defence Force told public broadcaster NOS.

    In a train full of mainly farmers returning from the Malieveld, the mood was light. Annemarie Noordman, a pig farmer from Lemelerveld said: “I am very satisfied with the day. I’m glad it went smoothly. It is a great feeling to have so many colleagues around you. The sense of togetherness prevailed. We had expected to appease [the public], but that was not necessary at all.

    “We distributed a lot of food. On the outward journey we went through the entire train to hand out animal products such as cheese and eggs. The 90 boiled eggs were gone in no time.”

    Ilona Mulder – her intern – was also there. “We had compliments all day long.” Other farmers returned earlier than planned: “The beer on the Malieveld was finished.”

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