Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:43AM
Truck drivers block a part of a highway in western France to protest against an environmental taxing plan. (File photo)

Truck drivers block a part of a highway in western France to protest against an environmental taxing plan. (File photo)

Farmers in France have blocked roads to the capital, Paris, in protest against tax hikes in the European country. Farmers in tractors blocked highways to the capital on Thursday. One fireman died in a traffic accident linked to the protest north of Paris. Anti-tax protests have been staged across France in the past weeks, especially over a plan for a new levy on road freight. Farm and food sector trade unions are against the new levy and say it will cost thousands of jobs. The angry farmers say they are tired of what they call “over-taxation,” which includes the so-called eco-tax on road freight and a planned increase in the value-added tax due to launch on January 1. Many local cereal growers also dismissed a decision by the administration of President Francois Hollande to focus the European Union subsidies and other aid on poorer livestock farmers. Meanwhile, France’s Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier has called for the “immediate lifting” of the protest blockade. However, union representative Christophe Lerebour said, “We are here to show our government that we won’t accept these policies anymore, which are decimating an entire sector.” The French president’s approval rating has hit record low, as people in France are furious at the high unemployment rate and a series of policy rows on various issues from taxing to immigration. MR/HSN/HJL
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