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French farmers barge into agriculture fair in Paris in anger

Farmers clash with members of the French police as they protest inside the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre on the day of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to the International Agriculture Fair during its inauguration in Paris, France, February 24, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

A group of French farmers stormed into a prominent Parisian agricultural exhibition prior to a scheduled visit by President Emmanuel Macron, expressing frustration over expenses, bureaucratic hurdles, and environmental rules.

On Saturday, in the midst of the trade fair, the farmers were confronted by a multitude of police officers.

Their voices echoed through the venue as they expressed their discontent, demanding Macron's resignation and expressing their frustration with the French leader through the use of offensive language.

"This is our home!" they shouted, as lines of French CRS riot police sought to contain the demonstration.

There were some clashes with demonstrators and the police arrested at least one of them, according to a Reuters witness.

After farmers' unions said they would not attend the trade fair, Macron canceled his debate which was scheduled on Saturday with farmers, food processors and retailers.

“I’m saying this for all farmers: you’re not helping any of your colleagues by smashing up stands, you’re not helping any of your colleagues by making the show impossible, and in a way scaring families away from coming,” Macron told reporters, after he met with union leaders.

The ongoing farmers' demonstrations, which have extended throughout Europe, coincide with the anticipated rise of the far-right political faction in the upcoming European parliament elections.

This particular political group has identified farmers as a burgeoning support base, further emphasizing the significance of these protests.

Earlier this month, French farmers decided to largely halt their protests, which had involved obstructing highways and depositing manure in front of public buildings.

This decision came after Prime Minister Gabriel Attal made a commitment to implement new measures valued at $433 million.

But, the demonstrations have resumed this week in order to continue to pressure the government to deliver on its word.

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