PARIS — Snow-dusted tractors lined up outside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and nighttime protests in Romania marked by vivid national flags have become markers of a widespread farmer protest movement across Europe.
The biggest demonstrations have been seen in France, where farmers blocked major highways around Paris with their tractors, but the days-long protests have spread way across the European Union, highlighting deep-seated grievances within the agricultural sector.
The movement, triggered by concerns over the impact of low wages, heavy regulation and the influx of cheap imports, has witnessed farmers from Spain, Italy, Germany, Romania and Greece join in calling for action.
Lines of tractors rolled menacingly across a residential street in Poland and across a German bridge, while farming protesters in Italy burned spectacular nighttime fires by stone statues.
Convoys with hundreds of angry farmers driving heavy-duty tractors created chaos outside the European Union’s headquarters on Thursday demanding leaders at an EU summit provide relief from rising prices and bureaucracy.
It made for a dramatic display, creating disruptions and bringing the disgruntled farmers’ demands directly to the heart of EU policymaking.
Meanwhile, there were traffic barricades on eight highways around Paris amid a large police presence as French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced a new set of measures to quell the unrest.