French farmers angered by government policies that they say threaten their
livelihoods drove convoys of tractors into Paris last week, obstructing commuter traffic and adding to the social unrest facing President Emmanuel Macron.
As many as 1,000 tractors rolled into the city, honking horns and flying the flags of the farm unions staging the protest. In the city center, farmers threw hay across the boutique-lined Champs-Elysees Avenue.
Farmers’ unions demanded a meeting with Macron to express grievances over policies such as the phasing out of the common weedkiller glyphosate. They did not obtain that meeting, but after talks with Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume, the unions said they would meet Prime Minister Edouard Philippe soon and suspended protest.
Resentment among farmers has been growing at what they call “agri-bashing,” or criticism of agriculture over issues ranging from pesticide use to animal welfare. “We’re the new scapegoats. As soon as something goes wrong, it’s the farmers’ fault,” Jean-Yves Bricourt, leader of FNSEA in the administrative department of Aisne, told Reuters. “We’re treated like