BERLIN (LifeSiteNews) — Tens of thousands of protestors with thousands of vehicles took to the streets in Berlin to conclude week-long farmers’ protests against the German government.
Monday, January 15, marked the culmination of the nationwide farmers’ protests that started on January 8.
Tens of thousands of farmers, craftsmen, truckers, and other workers blocked large parts of Berlin’s city center, including the government district, with thousands of large trucks and tractors.
The center of the protest was at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark. Tractors, trucks, and other vehicles were lined up in several rows on the major roads Straße des 17. Juni and Straße unter den Linden and on the Pariser Platz.
🇩🇪 Thousands and thousands of farmers, truckers and other hard working citizens took to the streets of Berlin today to remind their government and the globalists of one simple thing:
“We are The People and we are taking back control.”
This is just the beginning.
— Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar) January 15, 2024
According to the local police, who were present at the protests with a force of about 1,300 officers, “far more than 5,000 vehicles” showed up in Germany’s capital. However, the police spokesperson added that this was “a conservative initial estimate.” The Farmers’ Association President Joachim Rukwied estimated that around 30,000 demonstrators participated in the Berlin protests.
Farmer protests also took place in other German cities, including Bremen, Winsen, Stelle, and Cloppenburg, where the protestors temporarily blocked streets and warehouses with their vehicles.
Some politicians of Germany’s left-wing government appeared to express public sympathy for the protests, though they were not well received by protesters. Finance Minister Christian Lindner from the liberal Free Democratic Party even gave a speech at the protest in Berlin, promising the farmers to “gradually reduce other burdens on farms” and reduce unnecessary “climate change” requirements while defending the government’s decision to cut subsidies for agriculture diesel. Lindner was booed by large parts of the crowds, accompanied by calls for the government to resign.
According to the Secretary General of the German Farmers’ Association Bernhard Krüsken, talks between farmers and representatives of the German government on Monday did not reach any conclusion. Krüsken said that there was still no solution to the “agricultural diesel issue.” However, he still sees “room for negotiation” in the course of the upcoming discussions in the Bundestag (German Parliament) on the federal budget for 2024.
Farmers enraged by gov’t plans to cut agricultural subsidies
The farmers’ protest came as a response to plans by Germany’s left-wing government to cut agricultural tax subsidies. However, the protestors also expressed their general discontent with the reigning government, which has had very low approval ratings among the population.
In December 2023, an agreement reached by the government provided for the abolition of benefits for agricultural diesel and the tax exemptions of farming vehicles. The Federal Environment Agency listed both of these subsidies as “damaging to the environment.”
On January 4, a few days before the start of the announced farmers’ protest, the federal government partially withdrew the announced cuts. According to a press release, the government intends to waive the abolition of the preferential tax treatment for forestry and agriculture. It plans to phase out the tax breaks for agricultural diesel fuel over multiple years instead of abolishing them immediately.
Nevertheless, the farmers’ association stuck with its week-long protest plans, as the government’s concessions “are insufficient,” the association said in a press release.