Protesting farmers clash with police in Warsaw

The latest protest by farmers in the Polish capital of Warsaw saw outbreaks of disorder shortly after beginning on Wednesday morning.

Demonstrators started fires in front of the prime minister’s office, in one case leading to a confrontation with police, while some have thrown fireworks at officers.

Miało być spokojnie i bez piro ale nie wyszło.#ProtestRolników @TVN24Newsroom

— Michał Gołębiowski (@MikaGolebiowski) March 6, 2024

Large numbers of farmers began to gather in the capital this morning, ahead of the official start of their protest at 11 a.m. outside Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s chancellery.

They had hoped to drive tractors into the city as part of the demonstration. But mayor Rafał Trzaskowski – a party colleague of Tusk – denied them permission to do so, arguing that the machinery would be “dangerous and disruptive” for residents.

Some farmers attempted to drive tractors into the city centre anyway, but were stopped by police, reports broadcaster TVN.

#ProtestRolników w Markach pod Warszawą jest ponad 70 ciągników blokowane jest skrzyżowanie S8 z DW629 pod wiaduktem. Góra S8 jest otwarta jest też korytarz życia @farmer_pl

— Małgorzata Tyszka (@TyszkaMa) March 6, 2024

As the protesters gathered outside Tusk’s offices, they began to set fires, including burning a coffin labelled “farmer killed by the Green Deal”, a reference to the EU’s flagship package of environmental policies. Some farmers were seen burning EU flags.

Polsat, another broadcaster, reported shortly before 11 a.m. that one demonstrator tried to throw the burning coffin over the barriers behind which police had positioned themselves. That led to a “scuffle” with officers.

News website Wirtulana Polska and newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza also report that some farmers threw fireworks at the police.

I jak tu nie solidaryzować się z rolnikami⁉️

No jak⁉️#ProtestRolnikow

— Marek Kuna🇵🇱 (@Marek_Kuna_) March 6, 2024

The farmers began a strike action early last month in protest against EU climate policies and Ukrainian agricultural imports, both of which they say threaten their livelihoods.

Initially, their protests focused on blocking roads within Poland as well as border crossings with Ukraine. Last week, they held their first mass protest in Warsaw, which passed peacefully.

Subsequently, Tusk held a meeting with representatives of the farmers, after which he pledged to seek EU restrictions on Ukrainian imports, the suspensions or withdrawal of parts of the Green Deal, as well as an embargo on Russian and Belarusian agricultural products.

The prime minister announced yesterday that he has invited the farmers’ leaders for a follow-up meeting this Saturday.

After holding a first round of talks with protesting farmers, @donaldtusk has pledged to lobby the EU to suspend or withdraw „practically all” agriculture-related provisions of its Green Deal.

He also called for an embargo on Russian and Belarusian goods

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) February 29, 2024

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Main image credit: Kuba Atys / Agencja

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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