Farmers threaten to expand protests across EU as they continue to block roads after fatal crash

Farmers threaten to expand protests across EU as they continue to block roads after fatal crash

WATCH NOW: UK farmers protest for fairer regulations with supermarkets

GB News
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 24/01/2024

- 16:39

Updated: 24/01/2024

- 16:52

A farmer and her teenage daughter died after a car hit a blockade

Farmers in France demanding better working conditions could intensify as protesters threaten to expand their roadblocks, despite a fatal crash that occurred due to the blockade.

Many farmers struggle financially and say their jobs are threatened as food retailers are trying to bring down prices after a period of high inflation.

To put pressure on the government, farmers have blocked key roads for days in the south-west, one of France’s most important agricultural regions.

The action has begun to spread across the EU, as Belgian farmers also staged a blockade using tractors today. One farmer hung a plastic cow, painted with the EU flag colours, from a tractor near the European parliament.

French farmers take part in a rally in front of a dairy products factory

Farmers in France have organised roadblocks to demand better working and living conditions


When asked if the protests could spread to Paris, the head of the country’s biggest farming union said: “I am not ruling out any option.”

It comes after a car crash took place yesterday, killing a 36-year-old farmer and her 14-year-old daughter.

The pair had been taking part in a demonstration in Toulouse, southern France.

The husband was left severely injured and the three people in the car, all Armenian nationals, have been questioned on suspicion of manslaughter.

The prosecutors said that the car “struck bales of straw and mowed down three people” whilst driving on a dual carriageway.


French farmers block the A61 highway with their tractors

More than 400 tractors blocked off Toulouse last week


The farmer who died was named as Alexandra Sonac, 35, a cattle breeder. Her daughter later died of her injuries at the hospital.

The farmer's husband, who is 40, is being treated in intensive care.

Sonac was a member of the FNSEA farmers’ union, whose president Arnaud Rousseau said that “in this particular moment that [French] agriculture is dealing with, this kind of tragedy is difficult to cope with”.

“I'd like to tell the people on the ground first of all that they have the full support of French farmers.”

On Monday, ahead of a meeting with the government, Arnaud Gaillot, the head of the Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union, said that “there is a general feeling of being fed up” across Europe.

French farmers block the N12 road with their tractors to protest

The protesting farmers have been nicknamed “gilets verts", or green jackets


A cow figure hangs from a vehicle, as French farmers stage a protest near the European Parliament in Brussels

Their Brussels counterparts have also joined in on the demonstrations


“I think that at this moment, as long as I don't have the answers, I'd have a hard time explaining to them that they need to leave (the protests),” he said.

The protesting farmers have been nicknamed “gilets verts", or green jackets - a nod to the yellow jackets protests that swept across France over rising fuel prices.

Last week, more than 400 tractors blocked the centre of Toulouse in order to protest against rising pay costs and regulations.

Yesterday, France’s new prime minister Gabriel Attal met with representatives from farmers’ unions.

Following the meeting, France's agriculture minister, Marc Fesneau, said he would respond to the crisis by the end of the week.

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