In the north of the Netherlands, Dutch police shot at tractor-riding farmers who were demonstrating against a government climate initiative this week.
For several weeks, Dutch farmers have been working on organizing a countrywide protest against government plans to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from the waste of farm animal and the usage of ammonia in fertilizer by the year 2030. Government authorities claim that the initiative is necessary to minimize “toxic” pollutants, but the farmers are alleging that the legislation would put their businesses at risk.
Farmers used large tractors to block roads and cut off distrubution centers in their protests against the regime, according to Reuters.
According to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, this week police used warning shots and arrested several people after some of the demonstrators drove their tractors at officers at a highway entrance lane in Friesland.
The police narrative, however, has been disputed by the protesters, who claim that there was no risk to the cops.
Videos that have been shared on social media appear to show Dutch police shooting at a farmer driving a tractor.
The farmers’ group LTO called for an inquiry, according to local media. The police union ACP said the shooting was an incidental accident that would not inflame an already heated conflict between the authorities and the demonstrators.
The Friesland police said that no one was harmed as a result of the warning shots. According to the AP, an investigation has been launched into the matter because bullets were fired.
The blockade of grocery distribution centers by farmers comes just days after about 40,000 agricultural laborers in the Netherlands formed a tractor caravan and blocked roads around the country. Some farmers have set hay bales on fire alongside roadways, while others have staged protests in city halls and local towns, including The Hague.
The farmers have been targeted unfairly, according to the protesters, while other industries such as aviation, construction, and transportation pollute more but do not face the same level of regulations.
To meet the country’s carbon goal, farmers will be compelled to cut their livestock, and farms whose animals produce a lot of ammonia will be taken over. “The honest message for us is that not all farmers will be able to continue their businesses,” the government stated in June.
Protesters demonstrating outside the Dutch parliament were informed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte that farmers have a right to protest but must do so lawfully.