February 27, 2024

Police in the Netherlands have fired shots at Dutch farmers protesting the implementation of European Union climate rules on nitrogen emissions that threaten the livelihoods of thousands.

On Tuesday evening, police fired what they said were warnings and fired “targeted” shots at a farmer at a protest in Heerenveen, in the north of the country. Friesland police claimed that a “dangerous situation” occurred after protesters allegedly attempted to pass a line of police and law enforcement vehicles, necessitating the use of firearms.

The incident, whose photos were widely spread on social media, did not result in any injuries, although three protesters were arrested and one tractor was hit by a bullet. de Telegraaf Newspaper mentioned.

The National Criminal Investigation Service (Rijksrecherch) said an investigation would be conducted into the incident as a result of the officers unloading their weapons.

Farmers’ protest group Agractie condemned the use of force by the police, questioning whether “people should die first” before the government came to the negotiating table with farmers, adding that the situation could have turned much worse. .

Martin Brink, a representative of the ACP’s police union, said it was not clear from the video posted on social media what elicited the gunshots, saying that police officers “don’t grab” their guns without reason.

At the heart of the controversy and protest lies the decision of the left-wing coalition government headed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte to impose the criteria of the Green Agenda set by the European Commission.

Within the framework of the European Union’s Natura 2000 network, which identifies vulnerable habitats for both animals and plants, the mass the states That the 27 member states “must ensure that the sites are managed in a sustainable manner, both environmentally and economically”.

In order to fulfill this mandate, the Dutch government has announced plans to cut nitrogen oxide emissions from livestock by 50 percent by 2030. Last month, the government described the move as an “inevitable transition,” say It will seek to reduce emissions near protected areas by 70 to 95 percent. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of livestock farms could be closed.

For their part, Dutch farmers have claimed that other EU countries are not acting enthusiastically to meet the requirements, and are thus placed in an unfair situation. Agriculture plays a major role in the Netherlands’ economy, with national agriculture lobby group LTO Estimation The industry represents 54,000 companies across the country and generated €94.5 billion in exports in 2019.

The protests, in which large tractors were used to block roads and other key areas of infrastructure, not only led to clashes with the police, but also led to food shortages in supermarkets across the country at a time of inflation and food prices. It has already skyrocketed due to the fallout from the COVID lockdown and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a major food supplier.

The protests continued on Wednesday with farmers diffusion their tractors to Groningen Airport.

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