Luckily, they are unlikely to cause large-scale issues
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Last night two sets of Frisian farmers moved off in convoy in the direction of The Hague, to protest against new Dutch government policies. Sjoerd Rolsma, from Makkum, along with three like-minded others, set off in the direction of the Dutch seat of government at just past ten o’clock last night, according to the Leeuwarder Courant.
The Leeuwarder Courant is also running a live blog to document the farmers’ protest in the Hague, and is predicting thousands of protesters in the Dutch capital. The protest is on the Koekamp field, next to Den Haag Centraal station- and farmers may park their tractors on three streets around the Malieveld. Around 150 to 200 Frisian farmers are attending, and a podium for speeches has been set up on the Koekamp. You can follow the live-blog here.
The police have made it clear that this time they will not tolerate tractors on the motorways, so all protesters must make use of side-roads to complete their journey. At a petrol station in Terwispel (gemeente Opsterland), several police officers were waiting in case any protesting farmers went against their orders.
For Rolsma and his co-protesters, the first meet-up point was Bant in the Noordoostpolder, co-ordinated by the Farmers Defence Force. The farmers from Makkum met up with another group from Zuidoosthoek (Friesland), at around 1AM- with 192 kilometres of travelling to go.
The appetite for protest is somewhat smaller than in October, when Frisian farmers blocked roads, barricaded the water authority, and (along with others across the Netherlands), generally brought the country to a stand-still.
At the moment, the ‘Landbouw Collectief’ (Agricultural Collective) is in talks with the Dutch cabinet around nitrogen-level regulations. Whilst some farmers trust in the talks, others, such as Rolsma from Makkum, expect very little to come of the talks. In a symbol of the split in opinion, the organisation the LTO is not officially participating today- though some members are heading to the Hague.
The Netherlands is fast approaching a nitrogen crisis, which could threaten wildlife parks and the water table. It is generally thought that the Netherlands’ nitrogen levels are caused by too-intensive farming, though organisations such as the Farmers Defence Force also point to transport and building as two large contributors.
The Leeuwarder Courant is running a live blog to document the farmers’ protest in the Hague.
Image via the Farmer’s Defence Force